Tag Archives: rock

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

 

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

Artifact: AOT sticker on boombox, 1985

Artifact: AOT sticker on boombox, 1985

This boombox travelled far, abandoned like most of my possessions of the time in beloved VW bus “the Earthship”. AOT was band with friends (and i was like part0time extra member, JV if you will) in Surrey (Vancouver), BC. There is a cassette “Music to Eat Lightbulbs By” (and some photos to come in another dossier at some point) and a post at Melonville Hardc0r3 with more riffs and a comment by me (re-purposed below):

I was neighbours and friends with Kamel Gill and the rest of the band during this time. Brad Rees who played drums is next to Eric (second from left) in the photo above. This was at John Barley’s on Cordova St gastown. Eric was only one of legal age. The poster from the Bumper’s gig was DOAs first time in Surrey (Bumpers was an “all-ages” club with rockers on one side and “wavers” on the other). AOT rocked it and was a super fun night. Yeah the band was from Surrey / Whalley. Kamel lived near 96th and 124th st. Dan Walters who contrib’d the above did Terminally Stupid fanzine and i an archivist of Van punk/hardcore/whatever history. Now plays in Christ Air. I know Eric does photography and i think a CiTR show. Brad (drummer) was my best pal and great musician. I also make VOM fanzine with Kamel in 84-85 before i moved away.

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…”

Diary: Garden sprouting, yard evolving, rocks to move (still)…

Since we planted this patch of garden a week or two back, rain fell a few times in between stretches of sun so the lil seeds are sprouting up! 

Ryoko keeps a diary about the garden with all the details, however for documentary evidence, i took a few snaps while we were outside strolling the grounds… 

Komastsuna, a Japanese mustard green coming up in splendid lil rows… Continue reading Diary: Garden sprouting, yard evolving, rocks to move (still)…

Diary: More Rocks, also Herbs + Bocce Dreams (with time lapse fun)

As noted recently, we put in a fresh garden plot in the front yard area of our house in Tsuchida, Okayama, Japan. As part of the project is moving a buncha boulders to make room for planting a smattering of fruit trees.

The boulders are moved by a steel tripod, chains and a pulley system and as such, assuming one is careful and strategic, *fairly* non-heavy work aside from pushing the cart with the boulder to the location to dump it off. 

Time-lapse of a rock moving session:

The relocated rocks are used to build up a retaining wall of sorts to support a drainage ditch… When offloading from the cart to the ditch, we added leftover bales – really bales – of bubblewrap from the shipping of my archives to protect a hard plastic pipe in the ditch. Quite fun rolling the rocks into position! 

Then using a few more to put a ring around a big plum tree to make a picnic park area. 

We’ve done a few sessions now of hauling the rocks and while the pile is reducing, still can’t see the ground sufficiently to put in the trees, so we carry on / there are enough rocks that we’ll sorta extend a little wall. Continue reading Diary: More Rocks, also Herbs + Bocce Dreams (with time lapse fun)

Diary: Moving Boulders, Laying Bricks, Planting Seeds at Tsuchida Cottage

Quick notes: relocated these three big old foundation boulders using a tripod and pulley to make a little ring around the plum tree for picnics with the kiddo, and hopefully you

there’s a big pile to move in order to make space for 5 more fruit trees (we have the saplings living in pots: orange, lime, grapefruit… )

the boulders were moved using brains not brawn with a steel tripod and pulley system made it very easy as long as you were smart and careful. :) It’s quite ingenious as those mighty heavy rocks were moved with just me, pregnant wife and the wonderful tiny mother-in-law 

Next, we fixed up the area next to Ryoko’s tool shed with a potted olive tree, lemongrass, and various other plants…

first, put down a stack of old bricks and other rocks so ya know, give it some character and functional charm Continue reading Diary: Moving Boulders, Laying Bricks, Planting Seeds at Tsuchida Cottage

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, Girl Trouble

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 (with and w/o make-up), 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, Shawn Mullins

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