Tag Archives: REM

“Early Sht” writer riffs with J. Emde, MFA on WRTES pod

Have i encouraged you to listen to be recap my glory days from 1979-1989ish in “Writers Read Their Early Sh*t S2/E5 – Dave Olson (aka Uncle Weed): priorities & bad decisions“? Would very much enjoy your ears for a session.

Blurb:

Jason welcomes under-qualified window-washer Dave Olson & his fantastic beard & beautiful hands for a natter about punching or hugging Dostoevsky, see-through loincloths, meeting REM, borrowing mustard from Allen Ginsberg, dodgy Greyhound stations, working out the writing life math, and how cheerleaders are people too. There's ropey Egyptian history, a savage polemic, the details of hippy teacher Mr Boris's new motorized home, a few bits & Brother Bobs of Dave's early poetry & prose, & Jason getting his King Tut timeline wrong by only 3700 years. An unnerving—if not terrifying—time is guaranteed for all. Music by the outrageous DJ Max in Tokyo. Many thanks, wherever & whoever & however you are, for listening.
https://wrtes.buzzsprout.com/1773639/10812191-s2-e5-dave-olson-aka-uncle-weed-priorities-bad-decisions

Art below by Bob Olson featuring Mr. Borys’s bus (possibly fictional) from Harold Bishop Elementary in the heady 1970s.

PS more about Jason Emde at this Beat Sushi video

PPS more should be said about this wonderful conversation and yes, I have scans of more of the artifacts {and about Jason & my correspondence} so pardon brevity, I’m in a fog

Transcribing Poetry Diaries in Kura (ambient video w/ tunes)

Monday morning-ish, getting head spinning fluidly by riffing with ya

Just transcribing poetry notebooks, journals, diaries, and so on on a “typewriter-style” computer input device (a gift from Dome Wonderland) and date-stamping pages when done sometimes, while listening to The Matinée’s new album in kura barn studio in provincial Japan – sometimes squinting, something showing the notebooks (trying to maintain momentum).

Poorly lit, no narration, mediocre posture – working on poetry/musings book: “Circumnavigation, of Sorts” Nov. 2022, Tsuchida, Japan. That’s the full real deal.

Bonus: Circumnavigation, of Sorts “Postcard from Gravelly Beach” pod

“Space out & look at notebooks” (to maintain momentum on poetry book)

Monday morning-ish, getting head spinning fluidly by riffing with ya

Working on establishing rhythm / maintaining momentum by not overthinking + rocking a routine (incense, meditation, tea, lighting, music) and staying on course by writing mantras, keeping great books (both form and content) at hand (Gord Downie, Jack Micheline, Larry Harper, Jason Emde, Isabella Mori, Jack Kerouac), recalling the importance of exploring new forms (recalling REM’s Fables of the Reconstruction), flashback to Grateful Dead, Eugene 1990, and remembering why i am doing this (for Stanley, for Me, for Pals / you) – not like anyone else is obliging me right? – whilst in the Kura barn studio, working on poetry/musings book: “Circumnavigation, of Sorts” Nov. 2022, Tsuchida, Japan.

Typing Aerogrammes (ambient, in the kura barn studio)

yes, that is my address, send me a card (but don’t come visit unannounced)
its just me, typing aerogrammes with a funny look on my face, pull up a chair

Typing Aerogrammes in the kura barn studio – Really, that’s it, typing aerogrammes on an Olivetti Lettera 34 at a desk in kura barn studio in a corner of provincial Japan – sometimes with a weird look on my face as I scrunch my nose to hold up my glasses, listening to REM’s “Reckoning” vinyl. No chitchat, just ambient hanging out.

Continue reading Typing Aerogrammes (ambient, in the kura barn studio)

Vinyl: Japan pressings of REM, D. Bowie, The Beatles, M. Tyner (and “collecting” notes)

Recently another batch of vinyl by post, with brief annotations:

First off: REM’s “Reckoning” & “Fables of The Reconstruction”, original Japanese pressings. Quite thrilled with this find, liner notes, art and all. {previously owned in other media but worn cassette in a lousy van stereo just isn’t the same}. I have original vinyl of “Life’s Rich Pageant” and “Dead Letter Office” stashed at brothers house in BC along with an incredible assortment (which was in a time capsule since 1991 in Utah). Eventually will make its way here. The trick now is scoring “Murmur“ on vinyl, maybe even Chronic Town.

Aside: A bit more about the “time capsule” crates of records: I left with a friend in SLC in 1991 heading out on Grateful Dead tour expecting to roll back through in a few months, 20+ years later, picked up at his dad’s house in perfect condition.

Also added to David Bowie collection: specifically more artifacts from the 1983 era “Serious Moonlight” tour (my first big show) by adding Japanese pressing of “Let’s Dance” and interesting assortment of European press conference interviews from Glass Spider tour, on yellow vinyl.

In process is a “dossier“ post of artifacts from that “Bowie summer” at BC Place and later at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver shows which includes my original XS T-shirt, newspaper clippings, ticket stub. pin as well as photos by Steve Rapport from London show of the same tour + Japan Tour book, bi-lingual (my original was lost to time), as well as Let’s Dance pictodisc & Let’s Dance 7” ++

We’ll get that finished up one of these days maybe (then again I *always* say that :))

Also scored a sweet Japanese pressing of The Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s” with the 日本語 liner notes and also this great “cut out“ sheet of decorative accessories. I really wannnna cut it out and use and maybe i will.

Was so very pleased to open it up and see all the original liner notes and inserts and everything.

Finally rounded out this shipment with McCoy Tyner, one of my all-time fave jazz players.

Buying used mail order vinyl in Japan works out fantastic 99%+ of the time as the vendors tend to take a lot of pride in the condition and packaging. Hooray @discogs!

PS once I find a vendor with something I really want, often add on a few more discs as the postage amount doesn’t change :-) #LikeINeedAnExcuse In this case, also added “Beatles Rarities & Oddities“ / It’s a legit EMI pressing, not a bootleg but kinda looks like it.

I rarely spend more than 1500 or ¥2000 per each album for the record and i play all of them… don’t keep them locked away. Music is for enjoyment and i love a session of spreading them all over, looking at notes, details. etc.

As for the Japanese pressings, I mentioned this because the quality of the lacquers is historically of a higher quality and on higher weight vinyl with better attention to detail – especially compared to the vinyl you would see at the “tail end” in the 80s where the records were rather flimsy and inconsistent.

Plus, the packaging has all kinds of extra stuff including a usual “obi” wrapping around the front cover to show their name/information/etc in Japanese, plus oftentimes translated lyrics, additional liner notes and primers about the bands. And i find it interesting to figure the nuance of the record label imprints and distribution and whatnot. Plus, I live in Japan so often times the records are obv Japanese pressings by default.

REM / IRS signing press release (with annotations)

Press release from May 31, 1982 announcing the band’s signing with I.R.S. Records including news of the first release with the label, an EP called Chronic Town, plus plans for a full-length release to follow in 1983.
REM

“I read IRS honcho Miles Copeland’s autobiography recently and he talked about REM being the most low maintenance, easy to work with, no drama band of all of IRS artists – which of course including many notable (& great) bands laden with drama, conflict, squabbling (especially over songwriting credit/royalties), drugs and ego”

++ Noteworthy is the fact that REM split songwriting credits/publishing (read: royalties) equally between the four members of the band {guess I don’t know how/if this continues after bill berry left} This tactic is key to helping bands stick together.

So many bands split up when the checks start coming in and the drummer who spend so much time hauling gear, where the bass player that comes up with all kinds of grooves that make the song work etc gets left out in the cold… How many bands can you think of that the “lead singer/front person” left, started a new band with session musicians and just sort of fizzled out? So many band members have lifelong feuds as they split hairs about who came up with which part of which melody and which lyric was changed and end up with a dozen different “writers“ on each song or, just one writer for a whole album.

For the uninitiated, the lion’s share of the money from a musical recording is in the songwriting royalties, rather than the performance royalties (and yes I know it’s not all about that anymore in the age of streaming over physical media but this is coming from a guy who still buys physical media and publishing is still where the money is)

++ Used to be concerts were sorta a loss leader for album sales and now concerts are a big ticket item and merch is where the gravy is made (with exceptions etc. etc.)

Anyhow, this is where the REM story started progressing from a green Dodge van to a tour bus and theaters, two small arenas, and before you know it, for a while “the biggest band in the world“ selling out giant outdoor stadiums.

One other thought: in some bands (like for example the Beatles and the Police) where there were principal songwriter/s (Mc/L or Stg) the other band members would often/always get a song or two on each album >> I think in part to “be collaborative” but also to make sure they get at least a taste of the mechanical royalties from each album sold.

Of course George Harrison was a fine songwriter in his own right but after watching the Beatles documentary (that really long one) it’s clear the songs didn’t tumble out of him like they did with John and Paul. Ringo just sort of fiddled around with something here and there, helped out from his friends appropriately.

I thinking about synchronicity album, Stewart and Andy both have a song – both stick out like big toes in small shoes – but it means that there’s a check coming in for every album sold.

++ pal Mikael remarks: imho, George was, by far, the superior writer in the band.

++ my reply: my uncle agreed and made a whole album “by Bachman by George” (If I recall correctly) but in the case of the Beatles, after watching the documentary, B’s were very much a Paul and John “project” and George felt that and that’s why he kept on quitting. And dear Ringo, always showing up on time, letting the others do their goofy impressions & their squabbles.

Diary: #daveo50 Birthday Annotations / grills, records, pool

[note: Compiled Aug 2022, backdated to Aug 2020]

2020 was a big year as I was turning 50 (halfway there!) and becoming a father. Of course, my priority was taking wonderful care of my darling wife, especially when the “popular virus noted around the world” showed up raising concerns and adding logistical complications. Mostly meant from a practical standpoint, i couldn’t go to the various parenting workshops and medical appointments and so on.

Then came gloriously busy weeks with getting Mama and Baby home, doing his name registration in the city office, more medical check-ins, Grandma’s passing and the rituals and routines which follow.

Before all that, realized once the baby arrives, my creative time would be limited, so i continued on my usual tradition (if that’s what you call it) of doing some big creative project each year around my birthday. Note: a middle of August birthday means most people are “otherwise distracted” with the fun of summer, on vacation, off-line or otherwise tuned out as appropriate, as a kid this meant kind of lousy birthday parties (which I made up in later years with UW40 and UW42) and for my little creative projects, they sort of fall flat but that’s not really the point.

#daveo50 personal archeology project (of course) grew out of hand and/but was very fulfilling

So, before the baby came, I put together a #DaveO50 “Personal archaeology” project in which I documented photos dated to each year of my life and related projects, ephemera, artifacts, museums… The project kind of got out of hand (like they usually do) but all posts were pre-scheduled and ready to go before the baby came aside from the family photo we took on “day of” as a final piece.

my family on Aug 16, 2020

All this blah blah blah led up to August 16, 50th birthday. Of course, my present had already arrived on June 23 in the form of a remarkable lil dude. But still…

best present ever!
Continue reading Diary: #daveo50 Birthday Annotations / grills, records, pool

Riff: VW Beetle / busted up, 1986 (+ pizza beast, Earthship, REM and a sketchy boss)

Battered VW Beetle with broken spindle in American Fork, UT, ca 1986

Just before I turned 16 while living in Orem Utah, I purchased an (soon to be infamous) 1974 VW “turtle top” bus ($1475) and, that winter – after failing my driving test driving the bus and driving away from the licensing bureau but passing in the next time (that big bus wasn’t easy to parallel park until you got the hang of it) – drove up to Vancouver in the middle of the winter which included the snowy regions of the Cascades…  On the way back, with no money for a motel and 2 brothers on board, the van caught fire (engine compartment) in snowy Prosser, Washington at 2AM (had extinguisher, slept cold, finally found a mechanic who didn’t do anything and limped home about 700 miles on 2 cylinders, 35Mph… #anotherstory #focus).

Anyhow, this is all to tell you that this led to taking a job with a sketchy man who lived in our townhouse complex who had opened up pizza restaurants, Roberto Prieto (or so he said). He was a dodgy fellow with an underage wife, quickly burnt out his business partner at  “pizza heaven(?)” and bailed and opened a rival “pizza beast” in Provo. So i went to work for him cleaning out this former Chinese restaurant and turning it into an assembly line of high-volume pizza for BYU students,  in exchange for him paying me ($3.35/hr) but also helping rebuild my Volkswagen bus as he was allegedly a great VW mechanic and had an awesome set of tools (somehow all brand-new) in his garage.

He did basically nothing for my van except a lot of talk and no action and assigning me hours in a solvent tank washing parts, and some months later (after the accusations about s3xy times and dodgy substances picked up momentum plus he had purchased fancy Camaros for he and his wife which he couldn’t pay for it seems) he bailed in the middle of the night with all sorts of wreckage left behind.

Bob and I went to his house, hopping into the backyard to see if there was any remnants of the van parts as the engine was “gone”. Nothing useful, however there was an hungry/angry mother dog and her starving pups in the backyard who came running after us requiring a mighty leap to clear the fence.

{Anyway, somewhere there is possibly still bad man and all the stories about young girls in coca!ne who has long forgotten about me and the pizza beast I suspect but if I come across an artefact from that time, I’ll hook you up – must be a snapshot somewhere.}

In the *interim* of not fixing my bus,  he lent me this battered Volkswagen bug which was exceptionally dangerous as there was no seatbelts, no passenger seat, and in the backseat where the battery was housed, sitting down caused the battery to short so only could have one person sitting behind the driver which made the vehicle very unbalanced.

I would drive this home, with dodgy headlights etc. after working at the pizza restaurant in Provo to American Fork (a vaguely neighbouring town), and two times had near death experiences, no exaggeration.

One time, I drove over a dip under a railway bridge which, turns out, was pure ice – the bald tires spun immediately completely out of control…, I remember seeing the light of oncoming traffic honking as the car spun aimlessly and aggressively in a narrow space wedged in between concrete poles and various stanchions for railroad crossing gates… but *fortunately* landed in a snowbank . Was stuck there, trying to push my way out, no one stopped to help, just honk, but finally I got it going and drove on bewildered (no way to call for help as no phone around), but couldn’t get all the way home as our current home (a story in itself) was top of the steep hill. After a few false starts with ridiculous backwards slides, finally gave up, left the bug, trudged through the snow to the house.

The next time, while driving along the same road, the lil car gave a mighty thud then a hard scrapping squeal and lunged to the right. Felt like much more than a flat tire and turned out the wheel, tire and all had completely come off the spindle, and yes the wheel spindle itself, a thick solid post of steel, had somehow completely, not snapped, but somehow worn right through and come off with wheel tire etc with it.

I fought for control and somehow crash landed on the side of the road… Likely hitchhiked home or walked or something, but this is where that bug lay. Never drove it again. I can take a hint universe.

While I’m riffing, later an eccentric man in Pleasant Grove called Martin took on the task of repairing the mighty Earthship bus, which at this point has been sort of out of commission for a while and was really cramping my style, but let me a 1976 fuel injected VW Bus, not a camper, but it was a runner… I maybe took advantage of his kindness a little bit by driving it to Moab several times and then on a road trip to Omaha, Nebraska to see our REM with a few pals. I did my best to take care of it and wow, it was a nice ride – not all the accessories but just went and didn’t leak oil (shocker).

Finally, the mighty Earthship was up and running and ended up on so many adventures back-and-forth across USA, many Grateful Dead tours, the hostage incident in Taos,  up and back to BC and down Mexico several times, living in it while working at a bike shop in Burnaby, BC and going to university of Utah in SLC, and now lives as a sauna in big Cottonwood Canyon (more to this story on the docket to share).

There were several other significant car incidents besides the bus catching on fire, and the bug causing a few near misses including the terrible Blazer crash on Christmas Eve in Jerome, Idaho but I don’t speak of that terrible incident any further. Pictures exist (and a newspaper article) and they make me shake and nightmare. 

So yeah the photo at the top is the bug with broken spindle. Somewhere there’s a guy named Roberto who owes me and a guy named Martin who i am grateful for and a stretch of highway between Utah and BC laden with calamity for me. All in the past. 

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)

 

 

 

Musing: Throwing Muses, Tanya Donelly and concerts in years past

Added as a riff on a Throwing Muses/Tanya Donnelly etc site, no recollection of context, archiving here for ummm… archival purposes

I was maybe a little “late to the party” learning about Throwing Muses as it wasn’t until 1990 and they came to play in Salt Lake City and I quickly kept looping through Real Ramona… {Realized most of my fave TM songs were primary by TD rather than KH}.

At the time I was listening to everything from Mike Watt’s firehose to following R.E.M. on Green tour and hopping on Grateful Dead bus in Eugene and disappearing on tour… 

Would rock out to Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr (who have seen dozen+ of times including with Nirvana opening), Green River and then Mudhoney in between Grateful Dead shows, as well as pretty much any touring reggae band you can mention. Later hitchhiked around Europe with a scant assortment of cassettes in my auto reversing Walkman including Pavement, Sebadoh, Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum, Velvet Underground, Santana, Cornell 77… 

adding an image here, for no reason, not sure where it came from (Rolling Stone?) was in my “inspiration” dossier so hey, its shiny

“Grew up” with punk rock esp DOA & Nomeansno (im originally from Vancouver) and Dead Kennedys and other mostly west coast bands, but have tapped into *everything* from so-called college rock two free jazz to all the jam bands (saw Phish in a bar in Providence with maybe 75 people and little trampolines), followed String Cheese Incident around a bit, dug Widespread Panic and moe. Went to all five Grateful Dead 50 shows before “retiring”… Now live in Japan and especially big fan of Tanya’s sorta-recent Swan Song series.

Since I’m riffing, my first concert was David Bowie with Peter Gabriel of me and when I was 12, saw The Clash the next year and hopped on stage for the encore…  and just kept going since then… Got backstage for Oingo Boingo, R.E.M., played in a few small tiny bands in Salt Lake and other places, saw Gwar in Germany which was legit scary, saw so many big festivals at The Gorge in Washington, tagged along as a “roadie” – although didn’t actually do anything – for the Bad Yodelers in Germany and The Matinée in Ontario.

All right, I’ve reminisced enough, have a wonderful festive everything #freehugs