Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson

(March 3, 1923 – May 29, 2012)

i think i saw doc 3 times at the cactus, over my span working there. he was one of the friendliest musicians I've met, self-effacing to the point of delightful, with a humility that made you want to be a better person. if you didn't know who he was, he blended in with the crowd, simply seeming an unassuming character. this was all made the more jarring once he was led to his chair on the stage. every time I saw him at the cactus, this blind, friendly, humble character became who he was: an enormous american legend. he was not nearly as well known as he should've been. but that was to the benefit of everyone who had the chance to see him in these small spaces. every time I saw him there it was as though I'd been invited to see something akin to robert johnson in my own living room.

years later... october 1, 2005. san francisco. golden gate park. banjo stage at the hardly strictly bluegrass festival. mid day, doc (along with david holt and richard watson) take the stage after del mccoury. we had a great location, as always thanks to my good friend mike clark. doc held the crowd in the palm of his hand, just as he had at the tiny little cactus cafe. it was a sight to behold. perhaps the lack of sight is what made doc so special. undistracted by the visual of either a tiny cafe or a sprawling urban park filled with humanity, he focused on what was right. doc played three more times at that festival, and i think i only missed the last, in 2010. given the amount of competition at HSB, that's saying something. i chose doc over too many great bands/players to mention. because he was a slice of something we may never see again.

and perhaps now for the first time doc is laying eyes on his son merle.

Monday, May 7, 2012

bodhisattva illightenment ... rest in peace, mca

i've got to be honest. i had a rocky start with the beastie boys. "fight for your right" just seemed insipid to me at the time. hell, it still does. there was way too much going on in music that was intelligent and cutting edge, and that song seemed to be going in the wrong direction for both punk and rap. further, the beasties did not introduce me to anything new, at least not on that first album. i.e. they did not introduce me to punk, and they did not introduce me to rap.

that album dropped the final semester of my senior year in high school. like it or not, my relationship with the beasties started then, at every friggin party that spring and through the summer. and for the longest time, i simply could not get past that song. i fell into the camp that thought, "these guys are just posers". i still think that song is terrible. and i will say this... it is completely not indicative of who they are.

february 19, 1987. i go to my first beastie boys concert. it was their licensed to ill tour. however, the main reason i had tickets to see them was because they happened to be headlining over fishbone. i had tickets to see fishbone. and fishbone knocked it out of the park. i remember standing there screaming with my friends (i think i was there with burton baldridge and robert eberhart, but not sure) for an encore, and everyone... EVERYONE around us were looking at us like we were insane. they were clearly ready for the beasties to start. we didn't want fishbone to end. so the beasties got up. this was at the austin coliseum, which was not a small venue... every larger town has a venue of this size. it's where the bigger high school basketball games happen. now they had been opening for PiL on one hand, and madonna on the other, so they had played really large venues. they had the energy down, to be sure. but one thing they were having trouble with, i think, was a stage on top of a sprung floor. whoever their DJ was at the time (i have no idea, it might have actually even been rick rubin). let me put it this way... they had to restart "fight for your right" at least three times because the record would skip and whoever was DJ'ing couldn't keep the beat going. this was excruciating for me, as the one song i did not want to hear, i heard slaughtered three times. that said, the rest of the show was pretty solid, but the whole experience did not solidify them for me as not being posers.

until paul's boutique. to me, they were a different band. de la soul had clearly worked into their skulls. and they were ready to be taken seriously. while i had not heard of ATCQ yet, my guess is THEY had, and i am sure that was working in as well. ready to be taken seriously without taking themselves seriously. that is what it is about.

fast forward to 2004 (i think). to the five boroughs tour. bill graham civic auditorium, san francisco. a good friend (adam winig) tells me he has an extra ticket to see them. i had bought to the five and thought it was awesome, so of course, let's go. i'm in work clothes: a tie, nice shoes. we work our way to the front of the crowd. mosh pit begins. and i can't leave. i can. but i don't want to. it was an awesome show. and i was in the pit until the end of the night. my shoes were toast.

all three of the front men (and now, clearly MMM) are incredible talents. it is yet to be seen where they go from here. but to me, MCA was the driving force, and the main voice (out of the three) that always hit me. his was not a cartoony voice, but a raspy hard hitter.

what he created is here and continues, but he was still doing incredible work. that is the greatest loss.

i have read the tibetan book of the dead once a year since 1995. it is the reason for the title, and subtitle, of this blog. apparently MCA actually converted to tibetan buddhism. if that book is right... adam is currently in the bardo.

something tells me he is embracing it, with open ears.

rest in peace, MCA.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

church of the sonic youth

after seeing the awesome texas baptist church sign that read:
 "i never told rick perry to run for anything. i did suggest he stop harassing gays, mexicans, and muslims, however." --GOD

i couldn't resist making one of my own.

Friday, May 27, 2011

the revolution will be live

Gilbert 'Gil' Scott-Heron
(April 1, 1949 - May 27, 2011)

An incredibly sad day. I have not learned the details yet, only that Scott-Heron has passed away in New York. He had just released (last year) his first album in some 16 years. Poet, singer, songwriter, spoken word, novelist, activist, rythmist with a syncopated heart.

Not a last poet, but a continuum of poetry.

Friday, May 20, 2011

eschatology - (whimper) - the rapture (pt. 1)

the fascination with eschatology never ends. i present the soundtrack to the end of it all. i'm breaking this post in multiples as apparently a ton of youtube links in one post can break the blogosphere.

let's start with a little commentary on self fulfilling prophecies by the geniuses of six feet under, in particular this episode's intro, written, i believe, by rick cleveland

six feet under - episode 41 "in case of rapture"

only because this current idea and timeframe of the end of days (driven by a mechanical engineer turned evangelic pastor/prophet) is a religious based one, i will pull out blondie's horrific venture into rap music first. in an effort to get it out of the way. as an aside, this is the second time said mechanical engineer has predicted the rapture. the first time he was mistaken.

we are all human.

"rapture" - blondie
besides all the name checking during her "rap", i still don't know how she convinced jean michel basquiat to be in this. (he's the dj).

"rapture riders" - the doors with blondie

since this rapture is supposed to be caused by some earth shaking, now is a good time to share some fantastic roky erickson...

"earthquake" - thirteenth floor elevators

i compiled and burned CDs, complete with cover art, for friends for y2k, the millenium bug in 1999. scroll down past the prophesies since 1999 section for songs are about the end of days and released prior to that date.


"goodnight moon" - shivaree

"california tuffy" - the geraldine fibbers

"tomorrow comes today" - gorillaz

"let's get out" - life without buildings

"a thousand years away" - the minus 5

"it's not the end of the world?" - super furry animals

"no cities left" - the dears

"the dreaming dead" - jesse sykes and the sweet hereafter

"let it die" - feist

"naked as we came" - iron + wine

"end times" - the eels

will be adding more soon...

eschatology - (whimper) - the rapture (pt. 2)

originally curated for the end of the world 01.01.00

disc one


"what are you doing new year's eve?" - lou rawls


"people get ready" - the impressions


"1999" - prince

"all tomorrow's parties" - the velvet underground

"party at ground zero" - fishbone

"death is not the end" - nick cave and the bad seeds

"time is on my side" - irma thomas

"wish the world away" - american music club


"round midnight" - thelonious monk


"it's now or never" - elvis presley

"the rain won't help you when it's over" - true believers

"holding on to the earth" - sam phillips

"ask the angels" - patti smith group

"make the world go away" - eddy arnold

"meet ze monsta" - pj harvey


"final hour" - lauryn hill


"if i had possession over judgment day" - robert johnson

"tomorrow never comes" - loretta lynn

"god save the queen" - the sex pistols

"it's over" - roy orbison

disc two


"boys the night will bury you" - richard buckner


"la morena" - los super seven

"world destruction" - time zone

"the great atomic power" - the louvin brothers

"let my people go" - diamanda galas

"trampled by the sun" - the gourds

"the angel of death" - hank williams

"pink moon" - nick drake

"life during wartime" - talking heads


"countdown" - john coltrane


"it doesn't matter anymore" - buddy holly

"monkey gone to heaven" - pixies

"i've just destroyed the world" - willie nelson

"i just left myself today" - terry allen
(i hope to upload a video to youtube for this song soon)

"25 minutes to go" - johnny cash


"get to leave" - giant sand
(the original i used was giant sand, not howe gelb, from long stem rant)


"let the mystery be" - iris dement

"viva la raza" - latin playboys
(hope to upload a video of this as well)

"it's the end of the world as we know it (and i feel fine)" - r.e.m.

"is that all there is?" - peggy lee

"30 seconds till the end of the world" - pennywise

"a celtic lullaby" - whimper


"what a wonderful world" - victoria williams

eschatology - (whimper) - the rapture (pt. 3) - the outtakes

(wimper) outtakes 
these were meant for the initial set, but didn't make the cut due to size allotment of two discs.


"the battle of armageddon" - hank williams

"the end of the world" - skeeter davis

"lady midnight" - leonard cohen

"i wanna destroy you" - soft boys

"it's over" - k mccarty
(daniel johnston's version below)

"watch'n it all go down" - the texas instruments

"the last night of the world" - bruce cockburn

"preaching the end of the world" - chris cornell

"from the end of the world" - elo

"until the end of the world" - u2