Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Usual Rubbish

That thing shouldn’t be allowed in a residential neighborhood. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Mitch. I don’t want the mayor to send us nasty letters again. Five letters in one week is enough for any abandoned mill-squatter.

Oh, hi. I’m pretending to have just noticed you, looking at the blog post I wrote days ago. (What a giveaway!) We’re having personnel issues again here at the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, high in the hill country of Central New York, far from the beaten path. It’s my own fault for taking on a mad science advisor. Sure, he helps us get to Neptune and other distant worlds. Sure, he bends time like Superman bends steel bars (i.e. with his bare hands). But the utility ends where the madness begins, and let me tell you something, friends – Mitch Macaphee, our mad science advisor, is as crazy as Jeremy Shaw’s proverbial shithouse rat.

What’s the source of the current eviction order? Well, Mitch heard an internet rumor that a certain Chinese Space Station – the Tiangong 1 – has been sputtering in a decaying orbit for the past few years, neglected by its owners, causing a threat to navigation high above the Earth’s surface. He is now taking it upon himself to defend planet Earth by shooting the sucker out of the sky. Bet you can’t guess how. No, not with a rocket. Nope, not a deadly Edward Teller-style laser. No, not an electron lasso (is that even a thing?). Give up? Me too. I don’t freaking know.

Frankly, this seems a little dicey.All I can tell you, honestly, is that this project has consumed Mitch and our courtyard at the same time. He’s spent the last week building a big howitzer-like monstrosity with a barrel that’s got to be 80 feet long and a control panel with gauges, levers, flashing lights, electrical arcs, and steam whistles. (I think those are just for laughs, frankly.) Mitch refers to the device as his Positron Howitzer, though what that means I cannot tell you. But from what I’ve seen he can zero in on that sputtering space station and plant some kind of projectile in its side in a way that has the potential to ruin its whole day.

Matt wants me to dispatch Marvin (my personal robot assistant) to City Hall with some kind of peace offering – donuts or potato soup, something like that. I don’t know. Those official threats are the only personal letters I receive anymore … I’m a little reluctant to let them go.


Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Usual Rubbish

Let’s try that again, once more from the top. What’s that? You want to take it from the bottom? How ’bout we compromise. One more time, boys, from the middle. That’s the ticket.

Whoa, man, I’m totally out of practice with this band rehearsal business. It’s like I need rehearsal rehearsals. You forget, sometimes, how much you need to know in order to know what you need to know. And once you know that you know what you need to know, you know that you’re going to forget it. Why? That may be unknowable. Am I making myself clear? Good.

Okay, so what got us on this band practice kick again? I think it was all that watching and listening to archival tapes over the past few weeks, when I found myself with some time on my hands. There was a brief period when we were playing with the very amazing guitarist Jeremy Shaw that we seemed to record everything we did, from rehearsals to gigs to auditions. Just running through that stuff, I realized that I had forgotten our repertoire, aside from a handful of numbers. At that point (1992-3), we were playing mostly original music, some covers. We didn’t play a lot of gigs; mostly colleges and clubs. We played Middlebury College, opened for Bloodline at SUNY-IT in Utica, NY, and so on.

Start Where?One complete gig I have a rough audio recording of was an outdoor concert we did at Jeremy Shaw’s house a few miles from here. There are about 25 songs, and I’d say maybe a little more than half are originals. We also played numbers from Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, Talking Heads, and god knows what else. The gig includes the only live recordings of some of my songs from that period, like “Sunday Drive” and “Greater Good”. We also did Matt’s “Why not call it George?”, “Sensory Man,” and “I Hate Your Face”, as well as some Christmas numbers. There are also some of Jeremy’s songs: “Water Over Stone,” “Shithouse Rat”, and “Requiem”.

What the hell … we must have rehearsed some of these crazy songs, right? I have no memory of that whatsoever, and yet the evidence is fairly clear. If you want to hear some of this shit, stay tuned … this may turn out to be a throwback summer after all.