Monday, August 24, 2009

Deja vu all over again...

Well, it turns out that the gig scheduled for the 3rd of October is not going to happen. Lots of issues popped up out of the murk and it just didn't happen. So, we are again in our normal pattern of giglessness. We're still looking around for a venue that could work, you know, dark basement with 2 or 4 people covering their ears, shaking in the corner of the room, but so far nothing has surfaced so we'll just keep on looking.

Terry and I are working on the final mixes for the Rumdum Daddy album. We knocked out You Don't Want to Know and Rat Poison for the Soul recently. Rumdum Daddy is the next one we are finishing up. Terry added another vocal chorus between my verse and chorus and it fit nicely. I need to massage some guitars into place and go through the brain damage of those final mixes but we have some good tracks to work with. Fortunately, the stuff we did at Max's studio went down well into ProTools and we didn't have mistakes that took down the ship.

Theme from the Monster's Holiday is another one that I'm working on. It is nested into a dirge like intro followed by E Minor Exploration. It just sort of happened that way. We didn't intend to combine the two jams but it worked out pretty well. We were warming up at the studio and one of us started playing so we just kept on going until we finished. I think that one should work out okay. I need to find the type of echo we used to get from feeding the inputs into the outputs on the Sony reel to reel at 3 and 3/4 IPS. The tape echo was cool because it would go from left to right and increase as you turned up the output volumes. It was a very cool, very good echo machine and since we used it on the originals of both of those jams we thought we should try to do something similar on the Rumdum Daddy album. One of these days we may put out another older stuff album with the original tracks, E minor expl and theme from the monster's holiday. But for now, it's new stuff.

We are just finishing up an interview with Austin from Shindig Magazine, in the UK. He did a really nice job of putting everything together. I don't know when that will be published but figure within the next month.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

JPT Scare Band update

The Scare Band has been busy this year. We put out our first CD, Sleeping Sickness on our own label, Kung Bomar Records. It was partly because we didn't have control over how it was sold or how we got paid for sales and also because we didn't like the album cover too much. It had a little too much of a canine flavor to it and the flowers were not that fragrant. So, we put Sleeping Sickness out on the Kung Bomar label smack dab on April Fool's day. This is the second album that has been released on that date, oddly enough. Jamm Vapour, the album of our 2001 session was released on April first of 2007. We didn't really plan it that way but it was an interesting coincidence.

We are also very busy putting the tracks together that will go on our next album of new material. We think we're calling this next project Rumdum Daddy. We got together at a friend's studio in KC in 2004 to record most of these tracks. It really was just a blown out gonzo party with a recording session thrown in on the side. Greg Gassman came in for the fun and made every effort to commondeer the knobs but was fought off by Jabba and eventually lost all knob turning priveledges. That didn't slow things down though and we just kept on it until three days later, we had tracked as much stuff as we could come up with on the spot.

It wasn't quite as organized as the Jamm Vapour session. I came up with a few ideas and a complete song with no vocals. Rumdum Daddy is what the song turned into and then i came up with a dimented hook on the front of E Minor Exploration that sounded spooky so we kept it and then that tune rolled right into another Scare Band favorite that hasn't been released yet, Theme From the Monster's Holiday. My favorite collaboration with the boys was the intro line to Rat Poison for The Soul. I was playing stuff with my kid John and we were jamming away on all sorts of stuff like we do when we visit and I started playing the punch part and John told me I ought to do a tune with that so that's what we did. I showed it to Terry a couple days before we recorded and that gave him enough time to come up with the other part to the song along with some twisted up impromptu vocals.

Jeff came up with a very cool tune that is going on an album as soon as we can get it onto one and song is called It's Not My Fault. This has the scare band edge to it but kind of reminds me of The Band, shagged out after an all nighter at times. It's got a cool tune and great lyrics and Jeff does a nice job on the vocals too.

Terry wrote a lot of the other stuff like Acid Blues is The White Man's Burden, Bookend Jam, You Don't Want to Know and some other stuff out there on a disk somewhere. We've got a lot of material as usual and it won't all be going onto the Rumdum album so that's what we are up to right now is picking through the pile and figuring out what works on this LP. It looks like we are going to put another version of I've Been Waiting on this album. We will then have three versions of this tune. The first one was done in 1976, the second in 1993 when we did our 17 year reunion session and the third in 2001. It is darker and heavier than the others and all three of us really liked it so I'm pretty sure that one is going on it.

There was another tune I wrote. I brought it to the party but we only jammed on a couple of the parts of the tune. It turned out okay, sort of like the Acid Acetate Excursion in places, so we decided that it might find a space on the CD. It's great that you can get 70 or 80 minutes on those things because we do long songs and lots of them when we do get together and play. This bit of a song is the Bit of A-Minor Jam. Jeff does some really fun tom tom stuff on it and Terry is in fine form as well.

That session didn't go without its technical challenges and problems. It did cast rather a pall over the proceedings and at times brought the dander up and the hair on the back of the neck. We were getting downright pissed off and ready to choke the shit out of somebody! But, then the feelings past and we got back to work each time this wave of screwed up stuff swept through the control room. The studio wasn't really totally to blame either. They just weren't used to having people bring in lots of cabinets and amps and playing louder than shit. Isolation was a concept that didn't get implemented during this session. There's a lot of bleed in the tracks, but that never really scared us much in the past so we just work around and with it to come up with the stuff to go on the plastic.

Since we play so loudly, we had a problem with monitoring our sound while recording. Our buddy Rocky Rude had to come to the rescue and setup a nice work around headphone amplifier that could compete with the loud studio volume. Jeff had a kick ass set of drums to play. Len let him use his stuff and they were tuned just right for our stuff. The room was a nice drum room too, it had that big Zeppelin room sound to it, although our stuff doesn't sound a lot like those guys the sound of the drums has some of that flavor.

I freaked when I tried to setup my stuff. I had a nice bass with EMGs on it a Bass Pod and my Ampeg svt3 pro head. That was going to be the rig for the gig but there was some kind of a horrible hum or buz or something along those lines and I had to completely abort that idea and go to plan B. I ended up playing through the same gear I used in 1973, My 2-15" Rocky Rude, folded horn cabinets and the Standel MC2B through a GK power amp. I also played my Sunn Concert Bass head into a couple of David Eden, 2-10" boxes and ran a direct off of something. Anyway, I got the Rick 4001 out of its case and played that for the whole time. I hadn't been recording with that for a while, years it seemed, but it came back to me pretty quickly. I really like the Rick sound a lot and after the shock of getting used to another sound things were alright.

It would have been nice if we could have been in a closer proximity to each other, cuing would have been a lot easier than it was. Again, the sound of the room, the headphone amp and all the other weird shit contributed to the overall feel and to what we put on the disk. We were sick of this stuff after we did it and didn't go back to it for a couple of years. It just sat there looking like it would get erased one of these days to make more room for other stuff. I think me getting losing my job helped bring it out of mothballs. I was looking for stuff to do and came across this material. Terry and I had some long talks about what to do and did some listening and talking about how to fix this or change that or deal with the other thing and before long we were fixing tracks and working on the new album.

Conspiracy in the Kurds

Believe It Or Don't - Hiking In Kurdistan With Lee Harvey Oswald
OK, I've always been a sucker for conspiracy theories. It is probably always wise to believe that the government (any government, ours or theirs) is not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

For example, there is a major freakout going on about the three American "Hikers" who accidentally wandered across the border with Iran while hiking in northern Kurdistan. The evil Iranians have seized the three innocent American hikers and are holding them on trumped up charges of illegal entry into Iran.

Sounds outrageous, right? Poor innocent American hikers, being oppressed by crazed fundamentalist Republican Guards. Where is old General Jack Ripper, now that we really need his kind of straightforward strategic thinking. Warm up the B-52s, but this time send them to blow Iran back to the Stone Age, eh?

But... wait a minute... what in the freaking hell would any sane person be doing taking a trip to northern Kurdistan to go hiking in the mountains on the border between Iraq and Iran. Isn't there, like, still some serious shit going down in that unlucky place? Suicide bombers blowing up police stations, markets and mosques?

Is that the place where you would decide to go on a back to nature hiking trip in the Year Of Our Lord 2009?

Not me, brother. Something about this one sets off my bullshit alarm. This one has conspiracy theory written all over it. So... is it maybe possible that these so called "hikers" just might be CIA agents trying to infiltrate their way into Iran across a poorly defined border between Iraq and Iran in an area where the central government of Iraq has little or no control? Go on Travelocity and see what kind of luck you have getting a round trip airline ticket to freaking Kurdistan.

... and while we're at it, do you believe that the Warren Commission really got it right when they fed us the "lone gunman" explanation for the assasination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963? Most of the guys who served on the Warren Commission are long dead. So... who really did it? The guy on the grassy knoll? the Mafia? Fidel Castro? The CIA? The KGB? Hagbart Celine?

There is at least one guy from the Warren Commission who is still alive. That would be Senator Arlen Specter, the honorable Senator from Pennsylvania. Senator Spector claims that the whole thing was all on the up and up. Sure, the lone gunman is the logical explanation... Lee Harvey Oswald... no really... it was just this one nutcase, no conspiracy at all...
Now try to work Jack Ruby into your lone gunman theory... Hmmm... small time wise guy who ran a joint for the mob... so who was he? Just a pissed off patriot who was somehow able to waltz into Dallas police headquarters, walk right up to the guy who supposedly killed the President of the United States and put three rounds into him from close range? Let's ask Senator Spector about all of this at his next reelection campaign news conference, eh?

You don't have to be a Weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Rescue Plan for Musicians

What The New Financial Rescue Plan Means To Musicians
Picture a run down apartment building in a run down neighborhood. A beat up van with a beat up trailer is parked out front. A nondescript cop looking sedan cruises slowly down the street and eases into the empty space behind the trailer. Two men in dark suits wearing sunglasses get out of the sedan, walk up and knock on the front door of Apartment #5.

Men in Black: Hello, we're from the U.S. government, and we're here to help. We're going to rob you for your own good.

Grungy Musician/Taxpayer: Holy shit! You're from the government? I thought you were the freaking Blues Brothers. What the hell are you talking about?!! I don't want to be robbed... (sounds of a toilet flushing drift in from the back of the dingy apartment.)

Men in Black: Sir, we understand. But our records indicate that you are a taxpayer. Is that correct?

Grungy Musician/Taxpayer: Well... I'm a musician... so I pay taxes... well... at least I pay some of my taxes... some of the time... so what?

Men in Black: So, we're robbing you. It really is for your own good. In fact, if we don't rob you, the entire planetary financial system will collapse. You've heard the bad news about the big Wall Street banking bailout, haven't you sir?

Grungy Musician/Taxpayer: Look, I don't even have any money in the bank. Lot's of people have a lot more money than I do. Why don't you go rob them?

Men in Black: There's no need to make this about you, sir. You can rest assured that we are going to rob everyone who pays taxes. Trust us.

Grungy Musician/Taxpayer: This ain't right. I've played by the rules for years... well... most of the rules anyway... And besides, this is America.

Men in Black: It is indeed, sir. And we're from the American government. And c'mon, sir, do you really expect us to believe that you never took out a subprime loan, never leveraged your home equity into a second and third mortgage, never maxed out four separate credit cards at once, never tried to buy and flip a couple of houses for a fast buck, or that you never speculated even a little bit in the commodities market with your retirement fund?

Grungy Musician/Taxpayer: Hell no! I never did any of that kind of shit. Me and the rest of the guys in the band are barely making it. We don't have no stinking retirement accounts.

Men in Black: We're not here to congratulate you for being a financial basket case, sir. We've come to rob you for your own good. Resistance is futile. Maybe next time you'll go along and raid the candy store when you get the chance. Lots of people did. That's pretty much why we're here to rob you. For your own good, of course.

Grungy Musician/Taxpayer: This is unfuckingbelievable... but... well... what if I just stop paying taxes completely? Will you please not rob me then?

Men in Black: That's not a good idea, sir. If you stop paying taxes, we'll throw you in jail and rob you anyway.

Grungy Musician/Taxpayer: This sucks. I'm calling a lawyer.

Men in Black: Yes sir, go right ahead and call. We're sure he's a taxpayer too. Let him know that if we haven't been to his house already, we will be soon.