Light work.

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Okay, ready? On three … one, two, THREE! Arrrgh. I meant, on the count of three LIFT the freaking thing, not wave your hands in the air. What the hell’s the matter with you? It’s like you just don’t care.

Yeah, I guess you could say we’re having a little moving party here at the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill, Big Green’s adopted home for the last two decades. (I think we technically have squatter’s rights, but what law is there in a place such as this?) No, we’re not vacating the premises – far from it. I just wanted to move my piano from one room to another. No particular reason. Maybe that’s why I can’t get any cooperation out of this crew. I KNEW I should have done one of those leadership retreats! Curses.

Sure, there are useful things we could all be doing, but who’s got the time for that? I mean, I’ve been putting off restringing our borrowed electric guitar for about two weeks now. That sucker isn’t going to string itself, right? Things just keep getting in the way. Like Marvin (my personal assistant) – he got in the way yesterday when he was vacuuming the hall. To get to the guitar, I would have had to maneuvered around him. And well … I just don’t feel like stringing the guitar, Put your back into it!that’s the point. You see? When all else fails, the truth will out!

While we’re not moving things around at random, we are actually working on a music project. As I mentioned last week, it’s kind of similar to our first album in that we’re reworking some of the songs Matt wrote as low-rent Christmas gifts in the 1980s and 90s. The biggest difference is that we’re recording it for the podcast … and we’re twenty years older than we were for 2000 Years To Christmas. So this may sound more crotchety … or not. But hey … it’s free, right? To us, you’re all kids, and on Sundays, kids eat free. In fact, in my book, kids always eat free. That’s how we roll.

So, let’s put the piano the fuck over there, and let’s get recording, damn it. Christmas is almost here, right?


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Big Green heralds the arrival of Spring with a remarkably ludicrous installment of Ned Trek, some recent recordings, random utterances, and more. Here comes the sun.

This is Big Green – April 2017.

This is Big Green – April 2017. Features: 1) Ned Trek 32: All Our Festerdays; 2) Put The Phone Down: The cornbread song; 3) My friend, Mr. Worm; 4) Contemplating the wisdom of Kung Fu; 5) News from the falcon box; 6) The Akita factor; 7) Scat-singing Dalek; 8) Song: Freedom Gained (with Intro), by Big Green ; 9) Song: Neocon Christmas, by Big Green; 10) Song: Jesus Has a Known Mind, by Big Green; 11) Song: Up On The Bridge, by Big Green; 12) Out of here.

Wait a minute.

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Got this song running through my head. It’s one of Matt’s from some time ago. I get that a lot, actually. Our entertainment center hasn’t worked in ages, so when we’re not playing I have to rely upon the jukebox in my mind for my entertainment. And just now it’s playing Big Green circa 1989, maybe. Couple weeks ago. The lyric goes like this:

Thought we were madly in love
but we were just plain mad
I always thought we were in love
But we were mad, just mad

Under a Gothic sky
we heard an ancient choir
In an amphitheater
we compiled notes and prayed aloud

We held our breath and heard the voice
of uncommon sense
We dropped our eyes and saw the floor mosaic move
We were in need of uncommon sense
We met the face of foolishness

In the torrential rain
we still open the mail
We still shake the pieces
Still building boats unsafe to sail

We were badly in need of some
uncommon law
We were sadly in need of some corrective lens
We were in need of uncommon sense
We met the face of foolishness

We weren’t in love
We were mad

That song is called “Uncommon Sense” and I literally haven’t heard it in years. So why is it bouncing around in my bean? No freaking clue. Stuff just bobs up like an inflatable horse in a swimming pool. Or something else that bobs up … maybe somebody named Bob who comes up for the weekend. Not that that’s ever likely to happen. And what if he has special dietary restrictions? Okay … where was I?

Eight-tracks are just fab, man.I think I’m hearing music because my mind is wandering. It’s like hold music – something has to fill the void, and since my psyche is out on vacation, someone fired up the old juke box. Sometimes it’s junk-ass radio pop music from the 1970s. I won’t even name some of the ear-worms I get because then you will have them to grapple with for the rest of the day, and you will end up hating me until the end of time. You know, songs like “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”, for instance, or “The Night Chicago Died”. Oh, God damnit!

Fortunately for me, my brother and collaborator in the musical collective enterprise known as Big Green has written a smoking ton of music over the past three decades. I can run his song list end-to-end in my head literally non-stop for about three weeks and never play the same song twice. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of control over what I’m hearing with my mind’s ear – not like Marvin (my personal robot assistant), who actually has an 8-track cartridge deck built into the side of his brass head. All he has to do is hit the channel button and it hops over to the middle of another song. Welcome to the future, friends.

Note to cognitive scientists: if you figure out how to change earworm songs, let me the fuck know. Thanks mucho.

Sensory man.

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Did you feel that? No? Okay, check. How about that? Really. Right, then. Check again. Now let’s try the pointed stick. You don’t want to do it? Well, aren’t you the sensitive one.

Yes, we’re back. I’m just interrogating Marvin (my personal robot assistant) to get some idea of the degree to which his primitive analog circuitry has the capability to emulate human emotions and mock the various senses we take for granted. So far, it’s not going very well. His brass exterior seems impervious to brillo pads, water, even fire. Not sure about pointed sticks – that may be his Achilles’ heal. (I guess I could wait until he’s feigning sleep, then try it on his heel.)

Why am I wasting my time in such a manner? Well, while I’m waiting for Matt to get here and start recording the next episode of our podcast, THIS IS BIG GREEN, I am consuming myself with summer projects, some of which I’ve blogged about over the past few weeks. Annoying Marvin is one, though it’s hardly just a summer project. Still, this is kind of a pointed annoyance, and not just because it involves pointed sticks. You see, as part of one of my OTHER summer projects, I just posted on our YouTube Channel another live performance video from Big Green’s 1993 demo. This song, “Sensory Man”, is another Matt number – his exploration of the robot experience via Lost In Space. We’re talking Robot B-9 here, people. You know, that does not compute. Danger, Will Robinson. Etc.

Aren't you the seismic man?As I think I mentioned before, we don’t have a lot of video footage of us playing live, and even less of us playing our own songs. This demo included a lot of covers – all stuff we liked playing. So it’s kind of a freeze-dried sample of our set list from the 80s and 90s. We’ve got three takes of “Sensory Man”, as well as a rehearsal sequence on that song, a couple of takes of “I Hate Your Face”, and one of “Why Not Call It George?” – that’s it for our songs. That is, unless someone out there has video of us playing at Middlebury College or SUNYIT, when we opened for Bloodline. Anybody? Thought not.

Leave us face it – Big Green’s earthly performance faze was relatively brief. Most of our archival material is from a time before Big Green …. a time when, dare I say it, beasts of every size and description roamed the Earth. The scarier ones were club owners. But then you knew that. (If you own a club, you’re probably a cave man. Am I right?)


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Wait … where the hell are my lyric sheets? I had a big stack under my piano bench since we occupied the mill. Marvin – did we go digital at some point without my noticing it?

Yeah, so I’m just going over some old material, as I mentioned last week. Old videos, old audio tapes, old records, old robots. (Yes, robots – we have a roomful of toy robots in boxes, all acquired during our “Captured by Robots” obsession during the 1990s and 2000s. Evidence of misspent youth, except that we weren’t young then. Misspent oldth.) Just reminding myself of all the songwriting Matt (especially Matt!) and I did back during decades past – a full canon of material. Wait … that’s where I put those lyric sheets! In that old cannon Mitch bought at a mad science garage sale!

Marvin (my personal robot assistant) is lending me a hand (or a claw) as I sift through a mountain of discarded bullshit. Amazing how a band full of anti-materialistic, anarcho-syndicalist hammer mill squatters can accumulate such a bewildering array of random possessions. Sure, there are pockets of useful items, like the robots (we can, for instance, plan some kind of robot invasion of the convenience store across the street), but mostly nameless junk. We found some things that were acquired on our various interstellar tours, but much of that is either invisible or too radioactive to handle. (You’d think invisible junk would take up less room, but noooooo.)

He's behind me, isn't he ...?Anyway, I’ve been taking this opportunity to relearn the keyboard and vocal parts to some of our older songs. There are literally hundreds of them, so I suppose if I wanted to, I could play a different one every day for the next nine months, then start again. (I only have time to play one song a day, and usually it ends up being “Summertime” or something like that.) Yesterday’s song was Matt’s “Promised Land”, which is one of those Dylanesque songs Dylan never wrote. We’ll record these at some point, though we have scratchy demos of all of them, recorded on cassette portastudios back in the stone age. (We’ve played some of these on our podcast, THIS IS BIG GREEN.)

So if you’re looking for me, I’m down here in the catacombs, pounding on the keys and warbling. Just knock loudly and beware of the robots.


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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.