Monday, November 23, 2009

SIZE MATTERS, Dec 3 - 20 @ Load of Fun

size matters, originally uploaded by Mountain Lex.

Load of Fun Gallery

a show of porous proportions
featuring the work of
Samantha GARNER
Katherine HILL
Jordan KASEY
Irene MOON
Dennis TYFUS
Andrew Jeffrey WRIGHT

Curated by Lexie Macchi/The Mountain Lake Thing
Opening! December 3, 7- 10pm
and join us in the Load of Fun Theatre
for a sweet party featuring
The Stand-up Comedy of Andrew Jeffrey Wright
Fresh juice by Sam

Load of Fun Gallery
120 W. North Ave
Baltimore MD

Service Anxiety meets Long Live Death, forms human pyramid

top tier left to right is Theo and James Sarsgard.
In 2003, James and I were on tour with Long Live Death.
James played the saw, I booked the tour and did backup singing.
James is now Noble Lake with Jen & Andy of Wye Oak.
We did this in Icky's backyard after Long Live Death performed a green kool-aid show at Trumbullplex in Detroit with Chicago's Service Anxiety.
Theo was in Service Anxiety with the dude on the bottom row, all the way to the right,
and one or two of the other Service Anxiety dudes are in this pyramid.
Someone please tell me what their names are.
Icky is bottom row, on the far left.
In the morning everyone ate potato pancakes.

I found this ol' thing because I started uploading actual photos to an actual flickr page after almost 5 years of ignoring it completely. Stay tuned here:

ANGELA SAWYER: One Fantastic Record At A Time

Angela Sawyer runs Weirdo Records in Cambridge, MA. She's a dedicated musician with a weak spot for Julie London, a yen for the ukelele, and a skull tattooed on the back of her hand. She used to work for Forced Exposure and Twisted Village, played in Life Partners and created the pop-collage band The Phenomenological Boys. Her unique voice is as comfortable carving catchy melodic layers as it is hooting and swooping like Tiny Tim in Farsi. She used to run Weirdo out of her house as a largely online venture, but recently she moved into a storefront on Massachusetts Avenue where she specializes in the ultra-bizarre and hosts performances in the tiny shop space. Below, she tells us what its like.

I am a record collector & run a record shop that just moved into a proper storefront about 6 months ago. So lately, I've been working like a nutbomb, up to my eyeballs in it about 12-15 hours a day 7 days a week. And by it I mean records, and I mean a fucklot of them. And not just your run-of-the-mill records either. Nope, the name of the shop is Weirdo and it's the name for a reason. Freaky garage psychedelia from Bolivia. Soundtracks to French VHS pornos. Housewives in green pancake makeup sitting on the floor of their kitchens, banging pots & pans & shrieking at the top of their lungs. One sided 78s about baseball from 1904. Cocaine-damaged open-mic-night songwriters who wish they were rock stars. Singapore's answer to Nancy Sinatra. Off-key opera singers, mysterious bleeping boxes, jazz solos played on drinking straws, Beatles covers from Thailand, instruments that you wear like a shirt, nose flautists, tangles of cables plugged into unidentifiable objects, Hendrix fans from Zambia, one armed fiddlers, soundtracks to movies that were filmed in languages no one can speak, souped-up player pianos, and on and on and on. That's my meat & potatoes.

Now most people think they like music, same way that most people think they're funny or think they can hold their liquor. But there are some people, a small percentage of people, who organize their every waking moment around music. They give up relationships over it, pass on decent food & housing in order to afford it, and they rarely talk or think or dream about anything else. Some people do this, not just for six months while during a phase in college, but for years & years & years on end. Not only am I one of these people, I can't remember the last time I had a conversation of more than 5 seconds' length with someone who wasn't. Typical modern-day skills like cooking chicken, using a bank, or putting a band-aid on the knee of a child have, in my case, atrophied away to nubs. While I effortlessly sport seemingly esoteric skills like gargling coca-cola while using an electronic bullhorn, or remembering that Ananda Shankar & Laurie Johnson are men, while Blind Willie Dunn was not blind.

Why? Well, here's the thing about being a record collector. It's a lot less about owning stuff. For example, it's practically impossible to "invest" in records like you can in the stock market. People occasionally try some variant of investing with music (buying it 'for their kids' or for ebay), and they are a small source of amusement to collectors in their midst, until a few months later when the money runs out & they disappear. In fact, if you spend your life connected to records, you are conscripting yourself into a life of poverty, gar-un-teed.

Sam & Angela

People ask how I got here once in a while, because they usually don't know anyone else who thinks a decent selection of nose flute recordings ought to be as handy as spare batteries. I usually tell them, 'one fantastic record at a time'. Because that's the truth. The world is stuffed to the brim with meaningless drivel. It's often unsparing & ugly & desperate. Records are a corner of it where things mean something, where people care even a tiny bit, where what's precious is venerated and what isn't is left to the wind. I feel extremely lucky that I get to spend my time, say, tracing the hundred years of phrasing history that led to Ella Fitzgerald's intricate vocal acrobatics instead of... what? Some crap like mutual funds?

The thing that people ask a lot more often than how I got here is, 'how do you stay in business?' Seems funny, because I hafta tell you. I see lots stores that sell stuff no one actually likes, and lots of people whose faces light up with what they hear when they're here. The answer there is therefore: when you need your insurance, go see the insurance guy, and when you need your teeth cleaned, go see the dentist. When you need to be bowled over by something beautiful and genuinely unique, I'll find you.

See, instead of playing the violin, some folks like to turn the violin upside down & play it backwards. Other folks would like use the violin to imitate a scuffle with an injured cat. Still more folks would prefer to just put the violin down, then walk to the nearest pond & joyfully throw a bunch of rocks in it. All of these people are sort of 'my people'. And they are not most people's people. Definitely not. Even amidst friendly sorts who like to think they're quite open minded or quirky or curious by nature. Not most people's people. Definitely not.

Brendan Murray & Angela behind the counter, photo by DJ Ning Nong

But few collectors mind, because they care a lot more about carving out an aesthetic goal. They want to know. Is it possible to write a song that is both musically and politically urgent? Are funny songs automatically less profound? What is the secret ingredient that turns a mess of unformed noise into something meaningful? Is dancing a mode of appreciation or detrimental to it? Can a serial killer write a good song? How about a two year old? Are some chords better than others? Are some guitar sounds always cooler than others? What about the different kinds of listening that you do when something is live vs. when it's recorded? Or when something is a hundred years old vs. released this week? Memorized it from when you were a kid vs. never heard it before? These questions are not rhetorical. They have answers. Long, detailed ones. Because even if they never articulate such questions (some of them are nearly autistic, after all), record collectors define & delimit good music to themselves, by saving the worthy & pushing away the dross. Like a gardener, little by little, they weed garbage, plant seedlings, expand, upgrade, re-landscape, and continually focus, tighter and tighter, on the myriad number of ways that good music takes place. And they get to savor it along the way too.

So when people ask me how I got into my job or one of the bands I play in, I usually answer 'one record at a time'. The Four Freshmen & Lambert Hendricks & Ross convinced me not to go to grad school. The Beach Boys got me out of bed & to a doctor that time I had a 104 degree fever. I decided not to move to Chicago after all, because I was gripped by a fever for Emmett Miller yodels & figured it would take months to meet anybody I could talk to there. I nearly got arrested throwing things at a passing train because I was so hopped up on the Music Machine. Lord knows the gossip or bargains or morning coffees I've missed because I couldn't stand to be in a room with Carol King's 'Tapestry' for one more second. How many times have I freaked out my neighbors trying to sing along to Joan La Barbara records, or whistle to Evan Parker? And how about the recent risks in identity/postal theft in order to buy obscurities from Bangkok or Lebanon or Istanbul?

844 Massachusetts Avenue

A lot of people who collect records get started before they're 15. Sometimes an older brother leaves a collection on the way off to college. Many have fond memories of playing with turntables at age 4 or 5. I learned how to read from Disney read-along 45s, memorizing their sound & following along in a book until I had the book memorized too. Preferred it to being read a story by a parent, so I've been told. But I didn't have an older brother or a hip pal when I was a teenager, so I didn't get introduced to music that wasn't on the radio or tv until I was already in my 20s.

Which brings me to David Lee Roth, musical giant of my junior high & high school days. DLR is the epitome of what popular music can do. This is not to say that Van Halen makes the best music in all of popular music history. Doris Day, Steve Allen, or even the Ink Spots, for example, could all wipe the floor with Roth's bony white ass any day of the week. It's more that Roth's voice is uniquely textured and skillfully applied enough (don't think that there's no talent to emitting a sound like ripping sheets from your throat while in mid-karate kick, eh?) that it can answer any musical question: like the 8 ball can answer any question about your future. Sure, you can look at the guy and see a coke-addled, falsely exuberant jock who rips off Louis Prima (badly, no less). This would not be a mistake. On the other hand, just one step beyond the party persona, DLR can open a door for the uninitiated: to doo wop, extended technique, off-the-beat phrasing, the syllabic turns of foreign languages (yep, he recorded in Spanish & there's an acapella mix), 60s folk-pop (John Sebastian cover), the history of vocoders (don't ask), and so on ad infinitum. It would certainly be a shame if listening to David Lee Roth kept people from listening to say, Mohammed Rafi. But there's time enough for both so long as you're not wasting yours with mutual funds, and Roth is as fascinating as a car wreck, every time.

These days, I'm glad I got started collecting a little late. I vividly remember the sense of discovery when I realized that other people who did not fit in, musically or otherwise, had a place to go & congregate. Like the island of misfit toys, for burgeoning adults. Amazing! And I learned that these wonderful places were called (say it with me now) college... radio... stations. I worked at one (lived there between apartments even), and doing so helped me get a job at a record store in the early 90s. Didn't know much when I started, but loved having the top of my head ripped open day in & day out by mysterious black slabs of Pierre Henry or Albert Ayler. Experiences akin to seeing the face of Jesus on a piece of toast- except that it's as real as the hand on the end of your arm. One day another employee mentioned that a particular indie rock band was boring. I think I actually sucked in my breath, as although I'd heard plenty of guys in doc martins & hair dye knock Eric Crapton, I'd never heard any of them disparage some poor, tiny band of freaks. I slowly realized, that what makes music good is neither it's popularity nor it's obscurity, but simply it's quality. And that this was something you could learn to figure out, without the help of glossy magazines or tv specials, or even any local blowhards who might like to hold court. In a world overrun with crap, advertising, fear, etc., developing your own ear is a defense against meaninglessness, ugliness, shallowness, and idiocy. And here in my fortress, hidden behind my mounds & piles of music, I'm happy to say that I'm all loaded up & ready to shoot.

This month, the record shop I run is having a sale, because it's November and that's what I think should happen when people are thinking about getting their friends Christmas presents. It's not how most shops work- but I like to think of this shop as a place that zigs when everybody else zags. It's not a bad way to be. There's no money in it of course. I scrape for change & put things back on the shelf every time I go to the grocery store, and I try to stretch between trips too. But there's a lot of fun to be had. This autumn I learned to improve my duck call blowing, got a teensy bit better at the ukulele, accidentally whacked a guy in the balls with a mike stand while visiting Chicago, received several odd objets d'art from pals (one blew bubbles!), attended a Balkan-themed dinner party... And the records! Oh, dear me what sounds have been flying around in the air here! Columbian cumbias, zombie groans from Germany, field recordings of wallabies playing in waterfalls, the funny fartings of Danish policeman, drunken Peruvian teenagers on juvenile delinquent rampages. And you can bet that's just the short list.

please find Angela & company at:

844 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139
Images from Weirdo Records
Angela's Bands:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

GARY PANTER: Future Selves

Gary Panter is why the television show Pee-Wee's Playhouse looked the way it did. As a designer, artist, light show specialist, and musician, he's incredibly prolific, almost compulsive. The corners of his comics fill with flotsam, the walls of his gallery installations become quilted with years of collected ephemera, paintings throb eye-crossing patterns, and the landscapes of his graphic novels teem with leaning towers, scuttling creatures, smoke puffs, dinosaur goons. His cartoon language is self-referential and smart without being smarmy, and his sketchbooks are so plentiful they occupy about half of Picturebox's recent 700-page epic Gary Panter: The Book.
Looking at his silkscreened small-run art books from the eighties makes one feel like he invented weird, or at least taught pop-art how to throw itself up; he prefigured artistic movements of the early twenty-first century by nearly two decades. Even though he's allergic, he has three cats: Triscuit, Squeaky and Roofie. His favorite movie is Call Me Genius starring Tony Hancock, his favorite book is Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds and his favorite color is "all."

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?

I am always drawing, painting and playing guitar.

How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
Since I was little.

One of Gary's weekly strips, from

Why do you do these things? How does it make you feel? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?
I can enjoy life, but I love to make something out of nothing.
I would become unhappy if I couldn't do those things, but I would try to go on.


When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?
I drew with my father since I was little and watched him paint cowboy and Indian paintings, so that was generally formative, but...

A moment that told me that I would get old hence, become, was:

One day in Brownsville Texas, in my yard of dirt, in 1956, I saw a tin washtub full of water, with glimmering reflections of the sky.

I picked up a stick and stirred the water and all my future selves that recall that moment appeared and were watching me.

How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
It was a flow and not a change.

How has your work affected your life in return?
I get petted by people who like my work and reviled by folks who don't like it.
I like it, so I am not worried.

Totally mind-altering piece of Gary life-evidence from his blog

What are your thoughts about being Choctaw?
My father and Grandma were very much native americans to me growing up. My grandparents lived in Talahina, Oklahoma and worked at the TB hospital and at the Indian Hospital. At the Indian hospital the old people still spoke Choctaw. It's cool having some clue about where you come from. It was rustic --everyone chewed tobacco or dipped snuff. There were tornadoes and forest fires and giant hail, croaking frogs and bible thumping.

Where do the animal stories on come from?
The short stories on my site are attempts at writing-- heavily influenced by the writing of Donald Barthelme, Gilbert Sorrentino, Robert Coover, Byron Coley and others.

What do you think of the future?

We will be cave men for a long time. Then we will become fancy seals and gophers with TV skin.
After that, the skies the limit. If we get nice enough aliens will reveal themselves.

What do you think of David Lee Roth? Have your thoughts changed or evolved over the years?
He reminds me of Soupy Sales. No, he still reminds me of Soupy Sales.

Do you have anything you'd like to ask me?
Have you heard Devin Gary & Ross?
No! Tell me about it.
Devin Gary & Ross is comprised of Devin Flynn, creator of Ya'll So Stupid cartoon formerly on Super Deluxe. He has been in various bands, for instance, Plate Techtonics and Gangstuhs Wit Gats. Ross Goldstein has a solo album called Free Dumb and he has made music with various people including Dearraindrop. They are both multi-instrumentalists. I play guitar and trumpet kinda. We do our own stuff and covers of neglected psychedelic pop tunes. We are into concrete music and vocal harmonies and the whole thing is a fucking blast! We played Issue Project Room, Market Hotel, Santos, Cakeshop and Providence this year. There is some early stuff of me and Devin on youTube, but nothing like what the three of us are doing now. There is a CD of Devin and Gary on Ecstatic Yod/Picturbox from before we found Ross.

Exhibition view, Gary Panter: Pictures From the Psychedelic Swamp 1972 - 2001
image thanks to Clementine Gallery, NYC


JASON URICK: Avoid Cleaning or Jogging

Jason Urick lives at Floristree space, loves football, beer & Camels, used to perform as Moonstealingproject, and has had white hair since adolescence. He spearheaded festivals, a record shop, an underground venue (slash home), and participated in projects such as Spirit Stallion, a pastiche band comprised of a varying cast (including OXES' Mark Miller) whose often-hilarious performances poked fun at the music industry's more self-important side with Guitar Center pranks and PowerPoint presentations. Lately, his solo album Husbands has been garnering loads of positive attention, a split 7" with kindred Baltimorean Jason Willett appeared last week from Wildfire Wildfire and a trip to Europe is in the works. Jason is a lighting rod for Charm City's musical climate; his longevity in the scene and knack for storytelling makes him a griot of sorts, his charm and humor draws people to him, and his expansive taste and enthusiasm keep him thirsty for everything the music interworld has to offer.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?

I do what I do, and sometimes I forget I do it. I make music but have never been a "musician"... but I do it because I don't know how not to. I book shows at Floristree, but I'm trying to do that less. I used to do owning a record store, running the Once.Twice Festival, rooting for the Redskins, playing in Wzt Hearts and living in Chicago... but I no longer do those things for various reasons.

Lately I have been doing putting out my first solo record, trying to figure out how to a be a laptop performer without boring myself and paying spectators alike, rooting for the Ravens and not booking shows (sorry everyone who has been emailing me for shows).

Jason's new album Husbands, out now on Thrill Jockey Records

How long have you done these things? How have the things changed?
I've been making music for about 14 years now... I started late. I tried to learn guitar in 8th grade... errrr... I tried and succeeded in learning how to play the intro to Crazy Train on guitar in 8th grade and assumed that's all there was for me to do on that instrument. Wait, I actually also had a short lived "band" in 6th grade called Arcangel. We had one friend with a guitar, and I made a "bass" out of a shoe box and 3 rubber bands with a Fisher Price tape machine mic inside to amplify it. Our drummer had buckets... we "practiced" twice. We did have a cool logo that we drew on our binders. Our influences were mainly Faith No More, D.A.D., Anthrax and Bang Tango. If I knew then what I know now I would've named our band the Shitty Tinklers, because thats how my memory of it sounds.
I didn't tackle music again until after High School when I decided that I could easily be that dude in Pavement that played a snare drum and made weird sounds on a synth. I got a Roland Juno 6 for my birthday and made my guitar whiz friend Jeff Kmieciak and co-worker Zach Mason start a band with me. We found a drummer via the City Paper, his name was Ferdinand and he was a 30 year-old Phillipino guy. He was really rad and live in the basement of his parents home amongst like 8,000 CDs. We called ourselves Fashionable Kitsch and turned down both shows we were ever offered. We practiced for about a year, but I quit when we started playing songs the same way more than once. I wouldn't be in a band again until Wzt Hearts which worked because we didn't even like to practice at all, so there was no way we would have to play the same song twice.

I don't like to practice... I should've listed that in the first question as something I don't do.

Why do you do these things? No, really, why? How does it make you feel? What's it like when you are unable to do these things?
I do these things because I wake up thinking about doing these things often, and other times I go to bed thinking of doing these things. I don't know why. Some people wake up thinking that that they need to clean their room or jog. If you know me well I rarely think of these things when I wake or go to bed. Therefore I make music instead of cleaning. Maybe I do it to avoid cleaning or jogging... I never really thought of that until just now.

It sucks when I am unable to do these things because that means I am possibly cleaning or working or jogging...wait, that's not true, I never jog. These things I like less than making music. It feels good to make music when I'm making it because it relaxes me,... it feels natural when it's going well... I don't think of anything else at that moment.

Jason Willett (left) & Jason Urick, photo by Devon Daimler

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?

Is this a nature/nurture question? It feels like a mind trap... I'm not sure when that moment was or rather I am possibly unable to gather all the little moments that added up to make me what I am.... I would have to start early with something that happened in childhood like getting beat up in 2nd grade or seeing a Devo video on MTV, but I'm not sure if they mattered or if they actually happened. Though for sure at some point in early High School I realized that I liked music more than I liked most things but it was more like I always knew it but didn't know I knew it.... if that makes sense. I think maybe once I realized that Arcangel wasn't going to ever match the success of Guns N' Roses I put away this knowledge but once I saw Fugazi at Ft. Reno and they were walking around drinking lemonade with the crowd before and after the show, I guess I realized a world where the boundaries were more blurred.

I always imagined my role would be as a record store owner, or running a label or promoter. And it was for a while... it wasn't until Wzt Hearts were I felt more comfortable with the idea that I'd rather be making the music above all else.

How has your life changed to accommodate That Moment's effect on you?
It's hard to say because I don't know any other way. My life before what we have maybe pinpointed as the general time period that The Moment may have happened was most likely was spent mostly going to Junior High School, and watching Fresh Prince Of Bel Air while eating pizza bagels... now I watch thrift store VHS tapes (last one was Gladiator) while eating homemade pizza.

How has your work affected your life in return?
Well, I think it changed in mostly positive ways. I feel like the sense of community that you get from being involved with music has taught me a lot. I'm not sure what lead to what, but I feel like I need less to be happy than people I see that don't have that sort of community available to them. I dunno....

What do you think of the future?
I've been angry at the future ever since it failed to live up to the promise of hover boards by the year 2000. I'm also angry at the future for living up to Orwell's 1984 a little too much.

What does David Lee Roth mean to you?
A superior 1984 in some ways to the previously mentioned one.
Do you have anything you'd like to ask me?
Remember when Floristree dressed up as the Lexie Mountain Boys? That was cool.
I remember this as the best thing that happened to me that I wasn't there for. Same as being born! That was cool and about time too. Do you like how I just coined the word "interworld"?

1 - 10 of about 1,900,000 (0.12 seconds)

The Doorway to Diamond Dave: "Bid on David Lee Roth now!" This Welcome Mat of Legging Otherness is where we can see true results. Not included: the 2010 Tour, a Twitter account of questionable provenance, the mirror that appears when gluing these invisible shards back together.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BONNIE JONES: Foods, Toothaches

Bonnie performing at High Zero Festival; photo by Michael Anton Parker

"Born in 1977 in South Korea, Bonnie Jones was raised by dairy farmers in New Jersey, and currently resides in Baltimore, MD. In sound performances Bonnie plays the circuit boards of digital delay pedals. Her primary sound collaborators are Joe Foster in Korea (as the duet “English”) and Andy Hayleck. She is also a member of the Performance Thanatology Research Society, a interdisciplinary performance group dedicated to the advancement of a higher histrionics brought on by imminent finalities. Bonnie has performed at the Kim Dae Hwan Museum, the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, the ErstQuake Festival, and the 14 Karat Cabaret. She is currently an MFA candidate at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College." She's obsessed with the microtonal and the microsyntactic, but she parties like a bear in a stream, is always ready with a joke and will roast you a chicken any day of the week. Whether its wearing fake teeth at the 14Karat Cabaret while Blaster Al Ackerman tosses red glitter about in a dental monologue, or masterminding elaborate, sophisticated events, Bonnie's body of work is varied, exciting, and, best of all, just begun.

English: Bonnie Jones & Joe Foster

What do you do?
I make music with broken digital delay pedals and microphones. I make sound/text compositions. I sometimes perform these sound/text pieces. I write a little prose and a little poetry. Lately I've been practicing my variousness with seriousness.

How long have you done these things?
I've been inputting for 32 years and outputting at a low frequency for about 20 years and at a higher more accessible frequency for about 10 years.

Why do you do them? How does it make you feel?
I do these things because it makes me feel human and closer to other humans and helps me understand things - My things and other people's things and non-human things. I feel pretty good about it on the whole. Sometimes though it's better for things not to be understood. That's also what I'm learning these days.

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?
I'm not so sure yet what I am to become so that's a hard question. There might instead be a series of self-defining moments - one after the other after the other in a rapid motion through time. Oh this is what it's going to be like, oh this is what it is, oh this is another one. The last one I remember was when I realized I wanted to stop thinking about everything as a problem to be solved. First off - everything is not a problem and every problem doesn't need to be solved.

How has your life changed or not changed to accommodate that moment's effect on you?
To the last moment, I'm taking a lot more time experiencing things. People, sounds, foods, toothaches, closenesses and farnesses. I'm starting up an old machine that is latent in me called - experiential living. Also - I'm thinking about how if I want to make things that are very fast, complicated and layered --- how they can really communicate this idea of slowing down and paying attention that I find to be so intriguing these days.

How has your work affected your life in return?
Every time I make something I wonder.

Bonnie atop a human pyramid during a Lexie Mountain Boys performance for Sophia Dixon's Glowworms at Current Space, Baltimore MD 2007.
L - R, top to bottom: Bonnie, Samantha Garner, Lauren Bender, Nicola Knight, Amy Waller, Liz Flyntz, Megan Reid, Jen Kirby

How does David Lee Roth make you feel?

Do you have anything you'd like to ask me?
I'm wondering how you do your hair? Or what your hair routine is like each morning/evening/every other day? Also I'm wondering what you're working on these days.
Wash with a mixture of pearls and enchilada sauce, comb thrice with cat's paw to increase shine, apply coagulated salve of baby tears beneath a fountain of cold running water and upon drying much prayer is necessitated so any curl will hold even after the sun has set. The trick is never changing the basic shape ever for years and always making sure it looks like David Lee Roth in the darkness but without the balding part and the shameful cutting of the locks once he reacheth fifty. Tender shampooing is always careful, on the condition that one does not transmit head lice to a family of four in Portsmouth, NM. Including dog. Some things cannot be helped, and the itching persists for years. Nature's Gate opens the herbal way to a deep shine on my checkbook, ordered by the gallon and biotin its cousin and friend also soaking me for the long run. DO NOT BRUSH WHEN WET!! Do this every other or every third day as the weather and smell in the air dictates. Lately, I've been working on a remix of a song and it will be debuted at Mirkwood sometime this month of November 2009.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

IAN NAGOSKI: Exciting Monkey Times!

Ian Nagoski & daughter June

Record collector Ian Nagoski has been many things: experimental musician, vocalist, trader, journalist, cabbie, and part of the brains behind the first years of True Vine Records in Baltimore. These days, Ian's time is given over to his beloved 78s; collecting slabs of the fragile format, trading with other enthusiasts, and sharing his knowledge of the music's histories at occasional listening parties. After the success of The Black Mirror, Ian's extraordinary and thorough compilation of global music on 78s, he formed Canary Records. He remains a font of enthusiasm for the world of endangered song, deeply committed to the genuine experience of music.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?
Dream into sound... Hustle sides...Like a lot of artists and many other people, I'm trying to re-balance a world out of balance. There are mistakes to rectify and lies to be replaced with truth. I'm one of those who sees their purpose in working from deeply held beliefs toward adjusting the course of things. For me, it's music and the ideas and stories that surround it and the qualities of the pleasures it can give, particularly the pleasures of the operation of memory, that keep engaging me. Lately, over the past couple years in particular, I've been learning the stories and musics of good musicians, long dead, to answer questions about the recent cultural problems of group relationships in the U.S. - the problems of "us-and-them." I'm trying to create feelings of compassion and wonder by presenting old recordings and suggest irreducibility of human dignity through the meaning of the brief lives of the performers - heartening evidence of universal human genius and a question about where feelings come from. What are they? Shortly, there will be another expression of my own sound to finish, but those things take a long time for me.

How long have you done these things?
I liked studying and listening to music since I was a little kid, and somehow I was identified socially pretty early for my passion for it - certainly by 11 or 12. Through my 10s and 20s, I mostly worked on my own music, wanting to be given appreciation and understanding for it. Even through that time, I gathered stories, wanting to be educated, and celebrated people who I thought ought to celebrated.

Why do you do them? How does it make you feel?
It makes me feel a little less like a pair of eyeballs floating in space.

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what
you are? What happened?
There are many, but the first one that jumps to mind: I remember watching the film of the Coltrane quintet with Dolphy in Europe in '61 when I was in my late 10s, sitting at a monitor in the library and thinking that I understood dignity and grace and honesty for the first time. "That's how a person should behave," I thought. It was as if they had invented themselves. It just seemed obvious that every person would want to play a sound that was like that, full of crying out and deeply intelligent, and make statements as bold as that.

How has your life changed or not changed to accommodate that moment's effect on you?
I've given myself over to those feelings and that image in my mind, totally.

How has your work affected your life in return?
It has given me purpose and comfort in the face of death. It has been a good way to open lines of communication with people. And it has opened me up to the world experientially and intellectually.

David Lee Roth?
= exciting monkey times!

Do you have anything you'd like to ask me?
Knowing that you're Lebanese, I've been meaning to ask you about your family history. You sister told me about your grandmother and her hand tattoo, which was wonderful to hear, although I didn't quite understand the story. But it made an impression. Can you tell me that story? Were you raised in the Eastern Church? Can you tell me about the Maronites? Were you exposed to music in Arabic in Massachusetts?
It was actually our grandmother's mother who had tattooed hands; according to Kadra family lore at the age of 15 she bore five children and when they all passed away she traveled to the Unites States and had five more. Our grandmother Julia was one of the last surviving members of this family; she herself passed away before I was able to get much out of her besides the above story. She was Catholic, and since the man she married was Catholic and Italian-Irish to boot, she went with him to his parish St Tarcisius in Framingham, Massachusetts. They are both interred in that church's yard. She never mentioned the Maronites, didn't speak any Arabic, listened to Nat King Cole and preferred the Pope above all. She did, however, tell our father that we're related to Kahlil Gibran, and as far as her cooking goes she made a mean kibbeh. Raw, with the fist print in it and everything.

Black Mirror/ Canary Records

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

MARK RICE: A Little Hungry

Mark Rice, 2005

Mark Rice used to live in Bloomington IN, where he was well-known for his artistic and musical contributions to the sleepy city's generally transient and collegiate culture. He's toured the world, intermittently exercised some songwriting muscle, and as co-founder of Art Hospital (a Bloomington music venue and art gallery) he regularly showed his paintings, drawings, packages and installations. He once tried to fly off a roof with wings he made, and regularly frequented the same Subway sandwich shop as Jared. These days Mark performs as THIT and pursues graduate studies at RISD.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?
As of right now, I am listening to Oneida's record Come On Everybody Lets Rock. It sounds exactly like you think it would sound.....satin-y smooth.....Tonight is the night of my going away party. I am leaving my home of 11 years for the the east coast, specifically Providence, RI to go to graduate school for printmaking. So to answer this question, I would have to say that I am moving...To all who have moved or are planning to move, I have realized something about the entire process....The first is rather sucks...bad...Its nostalgic and physically demanding, not to mention, if you are a pack rat like me that loves to write run-on sentences, then it is also, heart-wrenching and frustrating. The second part is rather difficult to realize when YOU, the mover, are caught in the depths of a powerful MOVE.....It is not only boring to discuss to friends who ask,"how's the move going?" It is boring to the speaker of the lumbering complaints that follow such a question...Its strange to hear yourself boring yourself to death....So, to answer this question in the public forum in which I have chosen to participate, I will answer a different version the question......"What are you planning to do?" Many things actually, thank you so much for asking!..........I will describe 2....considering there are many questions to this interview, this only the first question, and that I don't type very fast....The first will be my VERY first solo music performance. This with happen in Providence, RI on October 1st at the RISD Museum. It is part of a group show curated by RISD grad students entitled "This Show is About Rock n Roll." The second is a project that is in the planning stages entitled "The Private Self-Assurance of Poor Paul Portmoy." It is an interactive sculpture featuring music by Jordan C. Geiger of Minus Story and Hospital Ships (Lawerence, KS) It has to do with self-image, lies, and how not EVERYbody has a good sense of humor or is good in bed, but we all think we are, or have to think in some way that we are special....Also, for the last 10 years I have been in both national and multi-national music bands. In the past six years, you say that music was my job...although I was always terrified of thinking of it as that. Previous and current bands include: Magnolia Electric Co., The Coke Dares, The Impossible Shapes, The John Wilkes Booze, Ativin, Early Day Miners, and some more.... boom boom bam! NEXT!


How long have you done these things?
My mother, Judith Ann Rice, is a Renaissance Woman in her own right. Sculptor, printmaker, painter, ceramicist, teacher, and puller of amazing salt water taffy, just to name a few. Her and my father have always been more than supportive of not only creative ventures, but being true to yourself no matter what the consequences. I know that last one sounds a little cheesy. I'm a little hungry right now. I get a little hectic and sappy when I get hungry.....Long answer SHORT......I have been making things in someway or another for the entirety of the memorable part of my life.

Why do you do them? How does it make you feel?
Ummmm.....A seemingly easy question....I suppose I prolly do it (this is real deep down now) because of control. I like a little tiny area that I get to be GOD. I do it for many more reasons now, but that one has definately been a long runner. I spent a lot of time alone and made little cities. Being able to get lost in something and have hours go by.....This can happen with anything (lawn care, cake baking, CLEANING, staring, etc.) Now that I am getting a bit older, I try to put this Zone to good use in the music, art, or the curation or organization of each, respectively. I really like the Zone, the concentration mode that when you emerge you get to step back and see exactly what Mr. Hyde happen been working on. Feel? Well, I feel nothing in the Zone. If all is going well, I feel nothing in the Zone. Exciting Pressure? It might be called that....I guess I dont know...NEXT!

THIT stage

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?
I am constantly oblivious. Only in retrospect to I usually realize what big "life trends" like that mean. I really didn't even know you could go to school for Art until halfway through my undergraduate degree. If I'm not having to make money to pay the bills, sleeping, or doing some sort of simple math, I am prolly making something or thinking about making something. It not usually a very intellectual process nor is it a strenuous one, nor does it happen always the same way...been little baby steppers towards a product and hopefully that one inspires another one and so on....Let me think a little more, but I really don't think I have a "Moment." Lots of little ones...

How has your life changed or not changed to accommodate that moment's effect on you?
Well, I slowly started living in buildings and homes that have less of a focus on comfortable living space (kitchens, beds, couches, cable tv, reliable gas/heat/electricity/water, etc.) into spaces that accommodate a larger range of projects (i.e. trailers, warehouses, tarp houses, garages, etc.) And also, learning to live on a fluctuating and low income (bartering, recycling, simplifying, etc.).

How has your work affected your life in return?
Well, I have only lived once that I remember (sometimes) so the only other way to answer would be to compare my life to someone else's life and I feel that to be a dangerous and weak argument. I am happy when work is going well and I am frustrated and annoying when work is going bad. Mostly happy though. HAPPY!

Does David Lee Roth affect who you are? If so, how?
I respect the man's taste in fashion. If he is a sex symbol (is he?) that is heralded by heterosexual women and he will choose to wear say, a woman's one-piece bathing suit, wear his hair like a WWF skydiving instructor, and paint his face like a sun-burned Avon lady then, shit, man.....Now that I think about it he has inspired me a lot!

Do you have anything you'd like to ask me?
That "Moment" question really got me......can you answer that one for yourself? I would like to hear that....and then when you are done could you answer it for me?
When I was 15 I was listening The Clash London Calling for the first time ever through walkman headphones and when the first bars of that song came on, I looked up at the sky which was perfectly blue with Octobery colors drifting all around and I thought "YES" just like that in big large letters and felt whole and thrilled by it.

HEIGHT: The Hairy Life

Height with Friends. l-r: Jones, PT Burnem, Heightman, Mickey Free, King Rhythm, Emily Slaughter

Height, AKA Dan Keach, is Baltimore's gentle forest creature of rap music. While offstage he is placid in demeanor, retiring and often almost camouflaged (an amazing feat considering his formidable stature), Height's performances highlight his intense and imposing presence. Sometimes downright spooky. Like the peers and co-conspirators of his Friends, Height's wordplay is magnetic and his ear for tracks is sharpened and tuneful. If it can be said that there exists a Baltimore County Native Hip-Hop style, Heightman then would rest amongst its innovators.

What do you do? What are you doing the most lately?

I rap in Height With Friends. We just finished up our new record, and we're trying to find a good home for it. We just released a free remix album at, and we're dropping the first in a series of free EP's on November 17th. I'm also getting ready to play a lot of shows.

How long have you done these things?
I've rapped since middle school, but the first Height record came out in 2000.

Why do you do them? How does it make you feel?
I've never been able to figure out why I feel the need to do all this stuff... My biggest hang-up is that I feel this obligation to be a helpful member of society, and I doubt that making up songs about my feelings is the best way to contribute. However, deep down, I know this is the one thing on earth that makes me feel okay, and that you have to do the things that you have to do. To sum things up, I guess I couldn't really live with myself if I didn't try to do this thing that's obviously important to me.

I can't claim that making music makes me feel one particular way. It's really the only thing I do besides work, so it's just my life, which has a whole spectrum of experiences.

When was That Moment in your life that told you you would become what you are? What happened?
My moment was when I started rolling heavy with my pal Mickey Freeland.We had hung out a little in second grade, but we met again in art class in sixth grade, and I thought he was the funniest person on earth. He would talk about music and movies with a crazy excitement that was totally foreign to me, and he was kind of like an adult in some ways. Him and his brother Chris introduced me to the whole world of artistic/creative things, and I helped show these things to other cool dudes, like Shields and Jones.

The kids I had been around before didn't seem to really have any thoughts about music or the things going on around them, except like "Metallica rules," or "fuck it." I was never able to play the role of a degenerate kid, but I wouldn't have had the vision to know I wanted to do music at a young age if I didn't know Mic.

How has your life changed or not changed to accommodate that moment's effect on you?
It wasn't like that. It's been an uphill battle.

l - r: Mickey Freeland, Height, Emily Slaughter

What do you mean by "uphill battle"?
I feel like I've been running in place or something. I'd like to try to make this into some kind of career, but the pieces don't ever seem to come together. I put out a lot of records, but they seem to get lost in the shuffle. I've toured a ton, but I haven't built up much of a fan-base. I don't want to bitch and moan, because I'm so grateful towards the people that do care about what I'm doing. I consider myself so lucky for knowing the people that I've met through music, and for the experiences I've had, but an uphill battle is what it's been.

I will say that things are coming together in some ways. The new Height With Friends live set is fire. I can feel that our set is gaining the interest of people who may have dismissed us in the past. It's something that's been slowly coming together over years of playing to all kinds of audiences all over the country. It was shaped and pushed forward by many people who have toured as a part of my set over the years. Our forthcoming full-length is another encouraging thing. It's our best record, and I can't help but think it will help us get somewhere new.

How has your work affected your life in return?
My work has made my life pretty hairy. I feel like I neglect every other aspect of my life, because I'm so focused on doing all I can with music, while I'm able to do it. It doesn't really matter though, because this work leads to my life being filled with the kind of things I wish to experience.

What does David Lee Roth mean to you?
I never really felt Van Halen, but I have more respect for him than I do for people who are just screwing around in life. He changed the game, plus he killed it by being an EMT in the Bronx.

HEIGHT Discography
I Have A Gun-2003
Utility Fog-2006
Winterize The Game-2007
Utility Fog 2- 2007
Utility Fog 3-2008
Castle Raps-2008
Baltimore Highlands-2009
Utility Fog 4-2009
Baltimore Highlands Remix Album-2009

photos courtesy Height

Monday, November 2, 2009

What, This Old Pyramid?

Boring MD Memorial Day party pitstop on DP's "Getty Address" tour. In the blue is Sam Garner, 2nd row l - r is Annelie, Emily (VUK), James Sumner (who made the amazing Getty Address videos), bottom row l - r is dude who's name escapes me, Dave Longstreth in his Rollins-wear period, me, Nat Baldwin and then standing well I forgot his name, but he was the Getty Address tour drummer.


In Brooklyn at the Bagel Shop with GROWING. Left to right, top to bottom: LM, Kevin Doria, Joe Denardo, Katherine Hill, Amy Waller, Sam Garner. OK so not an official pyramid happening but it counts as we are pyramid-shaped in our aggregation.

In Boston at Eric Shaw's house. Backyard bonfire.
Top to bottom left to right: Katherine & Amy Harmon flanking Koko, Sam Garner, Amy Waller, Red Hunter, LM, Geoff Graham.
"Sleeveless" Geoff, Jana Hunter's current bassist, is now in Antarctica with Cricket Arrison, whose blog about the experience is now happening in a major way:

In Montreal at Le Divan Orange.
T-B, L-R: Amy Waller, Amy Harmon, Katherine Hill, Sam Garner, SIMON!!, LM

God help me I don't know the names of a single person in this picture other than myself. Please feel free to let me know if anyone here is you.