Friday, July 4, 2014

Return to Sender

I miss writing. I hope to start spending more time here. I also plan on starting to share snippets of my memoir.

More to come....

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Still Be Wild -- The Rodeo Bar

Another of my favorite NYC haunts will soon cease having live music. From Brownies and the Lakeside Lounge to Great Lakes and now The Rodeo Bar, a large part of my twenties are quickly vanishing from the New York City streets. The rooms where I celebrated rock n' roll, bought and accepted many a drink and formed the strongest friendships of my life, are quickly disappearing. And with each closing, I realize that my youth is becoming more and more distant. The endless, blurry nights. The rock n' roll bouncing off venue or apartment walls until the sun came up. Many of these memories are now 15 years+ old. Time barrels on.

Star City was the only band I really cared about on the Rodeo Bar calendar. I liked the Hangdogs alright, and seeing Lucinda Williams stumble around the room was fun to witness, but it was Jason Lewis' messy alt.country group of pros that brought me out. I'd eventually "manage" them, which really just meant that I'd collect merch money on occasion and, well, hang out with them. We almost did get that bizarre record deal, but that's not why we were in it. It was the camaraderie, the friendships, the music. We'd talk about the Beatles, Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, girls, the Yankees and it all happened throughout the greatest city in the world. We were idealistic and we were borderline manic. And we just couldn't get enough.

Now we're older. Not necessarily beyond our peak years, but certainly past the raucous and boundless days that were the 90s. Seemed they'd never end. We'd sing and drink forever. Many of us are now married. Only a few remain in New York City. A number of us, myself included, no longer drink. Time marches on. But I sit here in my comfortable Northern California apartment listening to Star City's Inside the Other Days and it's like it was yesterday. The NYC streets may be cleaner and rock n' roll may not have the same impact on the city, but I'll never forget those days. They brought us together and those bonds will never break. Thanks for the music, Jason. Thanks a lot.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Breadcrumb Trail



Whenever I listen to Slint, there's just something.....off. It's like watching The Shining; you appreciate its brilliance but you feel like you should stop watching. Not necessarily out of fear of what's on screen, but for fear of where your mind is careening to. Slint's second and final record, Spiderland, is widely considered a masterpiece of indie/punk/sound/something. But again, it's almost impossible to describe. Four kids out of Louisville, Kentucky spit out something that must've come from the depths. And then they were done. But Spiderland was just finding its way.

Twenty-plus years after their demise arrives the documentary Breadcrumb Trails. I watched tonight and although it's filled with interviews with band members, the mystery remains. It's briefly mentioned that one band member checked himself into a hospital immediately following completion of the record. But no explanation follows. All four members have gone onto different projects, and, at least on the surface, seem to be living fairly normal lives. But all these years later, it's still haunting, jarring but equally perfect. A masterpiece, indeed.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013

It's been a pretty unreal year. I can't recall reflecting on a year and having such a long list of enriching experiences, some of which I never imagined possible.

Here are a few of the highlights of the year 2013:

Solid Sound Music Festival
Three beautiful days in the quiet and rustic town of North Adams, MA. The selection of artists couldn't have been better: Wilco (x2), Low, Neko Case, Dream Syndicate, White Denim and many more. Wilco opened their "covers" set with a blistering take on Thin Lizzy's "The Boys are Back in Town" followed by Pavement's "Cut Your Hair." Probably the biggest surge of energy I've felt since Clarence joined Bruce onstage many years back in New Jersey. I've been to some great music festivals, but SS is far-and-away the best. From the music to the staff to the food to the pace, this is the perfect music festival.



Friends and Family
Spent a lot of time with friends near and far.



The Replacements
Sure, Bob's gone and Chris didn't join, but this certainly felt like The Replacements. I still can't believe I was able to witness this.


Apple
The job I'd spent 15 years hoping I'd land. It's exceeded my expectations. Amazing to be surrounded by such driven and curious minds.


Rodriguez
What a charming and beautiful performance.


Meeting Peter Jesperson and Jac Holzman
What a thrill to meet two of my heroes. These men played integral roles in some of the greatest rock n' roll ever produced. They both couldn't have been kinder, and I now consider both to be not only role models, but friends.

Big Sur
I will never tire of you.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

2013 in Review : My Ten Favorite Records of the Year

1 Jason Isbell / Northeastern

2 Josh Ritter / The Beast In Its Tracks

3 Low / The Invisible Way

4 Neko Case / The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight...

5 Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis / Cheater's Game

6 Okkervil River / The Silver Gynmasium

7 Arcade Fire / Reflektor

8 Son Volt / Honky Tonk

9 Foxygen / We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

10 Mavis Staples / One True Vine

2013 in Review : Songs for Slim



In early 2012, former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap suffered a massive stroke. This tragic turn resulted in one of the most heartfelt and collective reactions the music industry has seen in some time. Musicians ranging from Jakob Dylan, Steve Earle, Jeff Tweedy, Lucero, Joe Henry, Deer Tick and Patterson Hood, recorded some of  Slim's tracks, while former Replacements manager Peter Jesperson gathered all the material, placed the recordings on 7" singles and put them up for auction. The proceeds helped offset Slim's building medical expenses and may have played a role in Paul and Tommy getting The Replacements back for a few of their first shows in over two decades.

Peter and a host of musicians came to the aid of one of their own. Beautifully done. We all wish Slim the best.