Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26, 2012

What a beautiful weekend for Folklife! We're skipping it, but don't stay away on my account. Square Pig faves Curtains for You, Ravenna Woods, and Shelby Earl are playing the Indie Roots stage. Meanwhile, the club listings were reliably rich:

Barons of Tang
Is this like land barons or oil barons, but with powdered space-age breakfast drink?

This repetition is a verbal tic I associate with computer programmers. Over the years, exasperation has turned to affectionate tolerance -- at least they're attempting to communicate.

Raygun Cowboys
I'm glad someone else noticed how the sci-fi weapon sounds like the name of the cowboy-actor-turned-President.

Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra
I like names like this that don't come into their own until you say them aloud, and then suddenly there's a literary allusion smacking you in the face.

Us on Roofs
I see this one all the time and I liked it from the first, but somehow it never made the cut before. I like the communal feel of "us", and the plural of "roof" is funny for some reason. It also can be seen as a reference to "Up on the Roof," a great pop song from the past.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19, 2012

I begin to suspect a conspiracy to keep old folks like me out of clubs simply by scheduling. It's difficult to work up the energy to go out on a Friday night after a long week, when the band you want to see is the third in a lineup of five at a show that doesn't even start until 9. In spite of that, I love our lively music scene, even in absentia. And I want to see a lineup that includes Wow and Flutter, Terminal Fuzz Terror, and Low Hums.

Future Rainbow Lazer
The best hippie/sci-fi baby name ever.

Fun to say, and sort of startling to see without "-berry" at the end. (Now I want pie.)

Piano Piano
Irony? I sincerely doubt they play pp.

Spare Me Poseidon
Love the classical reference. Drowning in the wine-dark sea of music.

A Vintage Spectacular
This might be just the name of a show, not a band, but it would be a good name for a band. I see a poster with P. T. Bridgeport lettering and people in corsets and boater hats, shredding on electric guitars.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12, 2012

Something a little different this week, in honor of Mom:


I grew up in a home with only one record player. Later, it was a stereo, but there was still only one of it. This meant everybody heard whatever was played. In the beginning, of course, our parents chose the music, which generally meant Mom did. She enjoyed musical comedy, so we heard a lot of Rodgers and Hammerstein. She cleaned house to Bach, and we also got significant doses of Handel, Beethoven, and Grieg. If she liked a new song on the radio or a movie soundtrack, she'd buy the album. We did a lot of singing in the car, folk songs and camp songs and hymns. I'm not sure which came first, but when I was around 5 or 6, she bought a guitar and started listening to Simon and Garfunkel. She learned pop-inflected sacred music by Avery and Marsh and Carlton Young, and shared it with the youth and adult choirs in our church. For a time, she and my dad led the church youth group, and when Sgt Pepper came out, they hosted an event for the kids to explain and defend the music to their parents.

When I was 10, I decided I wanted to play drums in the school band. My folks bought me sticks for my birthday. On my next birthday, I got a snare drum of my own, and started drum lessons. Eventually, I got a drum set. When the music store closed, Mom arranged for me to have my lessons in an empty office at the nursing home where she worked. When my brother got his driver's license, he also got the job of driving me to my lessons every Saturday, 40 miles each way. We'd listen to pop music on the radio, and we were both thinking, "Why didn't I know there was music like this?" Then he started buying records. We still had only one stereo -- everybody heard everything. I was a quick convert to Three Dog Night, Elton John, The Who, The Beatles -- but so was Mom. She'd listen, pay attention, find herself singing inappropriate lyrics in the hallways of the nursing home. She may have asked us to turn it down, but she never asked us to turn it off. Before long, she was cleaning house to Rocket to Russia.

During the summer of 1983, my brother and I took over the living room for an hour or two every day to play at being a rock band -- he played Mom's acoustic guitar and I played my drums, and on weekends our sister joined us on tenor sax. Even unamplified, we were loud enough that Mom might close the door. But she never told us to stop, and when we gave our sparsely-attended concert at the end of the summer, she and Dad listened proudly to both sets. In 1985, she came with us to a Bruce Springsteen concert. In 2002, she spent a lot of time listening in her car to The Rising.

In 2004, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She experienced precipitous declines and long plateaus, from which she could never come back. We went every week, with her guitar, and sang for her: folk songs and camp songs and hymns, Avery and Marsh songs, Beatles songs. Playing and singing on a regular basis gave my brother the skills and confidence to start a band, which he named Your Mother Should Know. Eventually he figured out he should invite me to be his drummer. Sometimes we sang his songs for Mom, and I know that if she could have, she would have listened carefully. She would have liked them, and she might have sung inappropriate lyrics in the hallways. She would have been there when we played in SkyChurch and at the High Dive. She would have listened to Your Mother Should Know in the car.

We thank our mother for our ears and our voices and our eclectic musical tastes. She was our earliest and most regular audience. I know I will think of her whenever I play or sing. Thanks, Mom. I know you're listening.

In loving, rocking memory --
Marilyn Frances Meyer
December 30, 1932 - May 10, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May 5, 2012

The Mariners better play a good game tonight -- we're missing Tea Cozies at Chop Suey because we have free baseball tickets. I suspect the roof will be closed, but maybe we'll get lucky and see the super moon. Hey, Super Moon would be a good name for a band . . . Meanwhile, the listings are rife with good picks this week.

I love the antique spelling of an ancient science for something people are doing right now. There is a kind of alchemy to making music with other people. 

A Breakthrough in Field Studies
How to Operate Your Brain
Both fall into the same beloved category of long names that sound scientific or academic. Nerdcore?

An adverb, possibly a musical indication, rarely if ever applied to rock music.

The Saloonatics
I've always loved the word "saloon" for its double o. The added step to lunacy is simple and inspired, especially on a full-moon weekend.