Tag Archives: the muffs

The Smugglers ‘at Japan’ pod-idio book (+ audio cameo, train mayhem & storytime foreshadowing)

Gist: My occasional co-conspirator, CBC dude and fellow mixed-media storymaker Grant Lawrence is reading his stellar book “Dirty Windshields – the best and worst of the Smuggler’s Tour Diaries” as a rock n roll enhanced *pod-idio book* (which is a dude who spends a lot of time stuck in bed, is a format i totally dig).

Grant and I at a CBC open house, *yeeeeears ago”

I spread the word about recent segment which chronicles their misadventures in Japan in the chapter called “Sushi and Squats” or is it called “Lost in Japan” or “Bishy Bishy”…? I’m so confused

Ears On!
Listen via Grant’s “Super Feed”: Dirty Windshields – Ch 34 – Diode City &/or Apple Pod

In the subsequent episode,

“More tales from highways & alleys of Japan ~ mayhem and good times with @GrantLawrence & @ItsTheSmugglers / still getting lost but because of a lousy tour manager driver but fun with Supersnazz makes up for it / plus a special hello for “ole pal Dave Olson, from Vancouver, living in Japan”

https://twitter.com/uncleweed/status/1703288235567571019
Dig even more goodness: Dirty Windshields – Ch 35 – Bishy Bishy! (Apple pod)

and no, i am not the Canadian Dave who got lost in the previous story

And about all the Japan oddities:

It’s so hilarious!

The whole slipper routine is still a constant source of confusion for newcomers to Japan. And even folks have been around a while, will accidentally wear the toilet slippers out into the “other room” or heaven forbid wear any kind of slippers into tatami room. #shock!

{Important to note that if your feet are bigger than I like size 5, you can really only jam two or three toes into the slippers and you waddle around like a penguin.}

And the mistaken word for that ‘bowel conundrum’ does have a pleasant rhyming repetitive feel but it’s definitely a different word.

Aside: Now that Japan’s borders opened up for several months, (they were hard closed) for several years, a barrage of “legacy” western artists are back on the tour circuit from Bob Dylan to Sting to Jackson Browne to Howard Jones (yup)… All finding great receptive audiences despite almost no promotion that I ever see.

And like you talked about in the Tokyo show when the audiences are singing along to every word, there ain’t no fans like Japanese fans which is why so many bands record their live albums here.

Also noticed Wilco are coming but only playing two shows… I’m no promoter but it seems like the cost of the logistics of flying across the vast Pacific to play only two shows in a country with three times the population of Canada and a highly efficient transportation networks and super eager audiences and loads of venues is a bit wrongheaded but what do I know… I’m just a guy who folds laundry and writes postcards in a minor provincial capital that no one’s heard of (but has a great jazz, reggae, etc. music scene).

PS thanks for the kind name check in the last episode. Makes my virtual friends in Japan think I’m somehow relevant ????

Long and stumbling Road:

The book spends lots of time in Vancouver of course but also another one of my “hometowns” of Olympia Washington (especially for the international Pop underground event in 1991) as well as European tours (which reminds me of my time tagging along with the Bad Yodelers in Germany).

As such, pals on both sides of the Pacific (and maybe some across Indian and Atlantic oceans) will dug it big time. Hooray!

Bonus Riff from Uno Port:

I wrote about reading this Dirty Windshields book, and some of the memories associated with his adventures, with Nardwuar, Beez and others, while on a trip to Uno Port en route to Naoshima art island (which has a dossier of its own coming, also eventually).

Coffee and dirty windshields, appropriately about to catch a ferry

Also: there is apparently a DIY documentary called “The Smugglers at Japan” floating around on VHS… trying to get my mitts on a copy – which might require buying a VHS deck at (splendidly named used goods store chain) Hard Off, but I need to get one anyway… (I’ve got projects, you know)

Usual digression, this time from a train:

Grant and I both rolled on the now-semi-legendary “Tracks on Tracks” trip – am indie rock Festival Express of sorts on Via Rail from Vancouver to Toronto with “whistle-stop shows (which like the original Festival Express, all went “horribly wrong but just right” somehow.).

Not the Rosie part but the Matinee part and of course there’s Grant but there’s also me tucked in there

During the trip in a late night dining car sign-a-long, my pals from The Matinée pulled out “Rosie” – probably the closest The Smugglers ever had to a hit I’m not sure – and encouraged Grant to sing… When he said, “but I don’t remember the words” they even had a lyric sheet ready for him.

My “story board” from the tracks on track train trip

There is always a reunion tour: the events on the train possibly subsequently kind of sparked a resurgence of the band in part and anyway Grant who was on a roll with his stories from desolation sound book and another one about his life in hockey, then rocked out this great dirty windshield and then did ‘reunion shows’.

“Lonely end of the rink” on a bookshelf made from an old canoe on a tiny island near Bali Indonesia

First at a Lookout Records (tip: read Larry Livermore’s “how to ruin a record label” book) event in Berkeley, another at Amigos in Saskatoon (coincidentally where I was born), and an event – which doubled as a book release party iirc – at the Commodore Ballroom with Chixdiggit and The Muffs (might’ve been their very last show, RIP, Kim).

I was there, groggy from just arriving from Nepal or Sri Lanka, or Istanbul or something. Anyway, click the things above and dig the stories and the garage rock and “colorful” to say the least characters met along the way.

Coming, Eventually:

So funny figuring out how we were constantly crossing paths around the world but slightly different years… I was in Japan in the early 90s but by the time you were there on tour, I was in Guam then Olympia (where I became the Internet provider guy for K records, Kill Rockstars, Subpop, Ladyfest, yo-yo a go go, Sunnyside music fest, Capitol theater, Tropicana > Metropolis, east side club, and well… Every other music going on

We crisscrossed CBGB’s (which was past its prime and I spent most of my time at Wetlands with emerging “jam bands” in 1989), later in Europe where I was a “roadie” (freeloader who didn’t do anything) for the Bad Yodelers on a similar circuit as you all – plus seeing Gwar and staying at punk rock squats extolling stories of DOA, No Means No, SNFU who were all legends in Germany.

When you were in Olympia for the international Pop underground, i split two weeks before (after getting sent to attend evergreen college which turns out got put on hold for a decade or so) & had split for Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead show in California – but earlier that same year I was watching Beat Happening in Salt Lake City (as well as Nirvana opening for Dinosaur Jr at a converted church) – maybe was that the same run of shows you promoted the Nirvana show with Screaming Trees etc.?

Even back in the 80s in Vancouver, ‘you can cross one river/inlet but crossing two is quite literally ‘a transit bridge too far” – so I was also sneaking in to Commodore and Town Pump (never could get into the Buddha) but reveling in the all ages shows at the York theater / so many!… but getting up to the SeyLynn hall for shows was a literal transit impossibility from Whalley (though I saw Fugazi around that same time you were promoting them but in Washington DC – on a meandering road trip in yup, a VW bus, which took me from Harvard to Sun studios and all points in between).

Anyway, I made a long rambling video that kind of talks about these weird connections pulling out all kinds of artifacts, handbills, records, ephemera in a freeform stream of consciousness riff and maybe I’ll eventually edit it and put it out into the world cause the connections are kinda hilarious.

We were however, in the same gymnasium at those Mudhoney shows at UBC but strangely I have no recollection of the Smugglers (definitely my fault, not yours I was probably in the parking lot having a safety break).

This is just a long way of saying “I’m really enjoying the podcast, (especially as I am laid out with that “popular public health conundrum plague”) and seems like lots of my pals in Japan are getting a good kick out of it too”.

Rock on etc

Me, elsewhere
Addendum:

Sort-ganizing Ephemera by Post (with Royal Dudes & the Muffs)

Yup, i ramble on about items arrived by post and think you should hang out (i’ll make tea)

Opening a big santa sack of recent items by post including aerogrammes/ aerograms, passports, international driver’s licenses, documents, hotel letterhead, records (namechecking recent interview on Rice Field Records), postcards, etc from Nepal, Monaco, East German DDR, probably i dunno… Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, United Nations, others i don’t quite understand.

Also mail from Ukraine which allows mention of intrepid postal workers delivering despite war and displacement, + blabbity blah about guest coming to visit, feeling discombobulated after #MECFS “crash  mode” – that’s it except the parts i forgot. Argh prob a ramble about the “passport forgery project” {recalling i riffed about taking “intimate documents” and adding life to them}

Bonus: Rice Field Records Interview

{this should and will be a separate bonus post but in the meanwhile…}

Continue reading Sort-ganizing Ephemera by Post (with Royal Dudes & the Muffs)

Records: things to say about these albums, but for now…

I have things to say about each of these albums.

Very different things in each case but important things.

Things about reinvention, transitions, kindness, confusion, discovery and comfort.

Stashing here for now to remind myself to tell you later.

shrine to help the passed along their way

rip Kim S & Paul J #peace