Friday, December 31, 2010

One last post.............

I have time for one last post of the year before starting a hopefully better new one. Normally I don't make resolutions or anything like that but this year I hope that my family can leave behind the bad luck with illness and sickness and money problems and have more prosperity. I know that there are people out there who have had much worse luck than I but there are a lot also who have had much better. I'm thankful for all we have and all we've experienced but I really want to try and better myself and my family. It's about moving forward instead of running in place, growing instead of being stagnant, learning instead of keeping that status quo. I hope everything goes well for everyone out there and that the new year will bring you happiness and health.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hammerbox

Due to a technical glitch with my Ipod I had no podcasts to listen to tonight while at work and instead listened only to music which is becoming a rare thing for me. I left it on shuffle for the most part until a song by the band Hammerbox came on and I ended up listening to all of their songs from their album Numb which was released in 1993. Hammerbox formed in Seattle somewhere around 1989 to 1990 and got lumped in with the so called "grunge" bands of that era. They called it quits in 1994 which just goes to show that in the music business it's not always enough to have good songs, a fantastic singer who has a powerful voice (Carrie Akre) and quality musicians. You also need to have luck and a good deal of it. Unfortunately Hammerbox didn't have enough and never followed up what I call an unsung album that was a favorite of mine for a long time. So now I look back and remember the short lived brilliance of Hammerbox.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dude, Where Have You Been?

I'm just now starting to get back into the swing of posting on my blog and while I have a plethora of ideas to write about there still is the little matter of finding enough time to write about them. It hasn't been easy for me the last few months but things are starting to look up. Basically what happened is that my wife has been out of work for the past few months due to a Baker's Cyst in her calf. Normally when I would get home from work she and our son would be asleep and that was my time to get on the computer and write. Since she hasn't been working I would come home and most nights she would be on the computer and I'd get up the next day and either her or our son would be on the computer. My online time has been very limited.

At first her problem was mis-diagnosed by a Nurse Practitioner (last time we allow one of them to see either of us) which set her back two weeks from getting real treatment. Once the doctor figured out what was wrong he sent her to a specialist to get an evaluation. The specialist wanted to get an MRI of her knee and to try and aspirate the cyst which didn't work. It seems it wasn't liquidy enough and was instead more like a thick syrup which was unusual as was it's location. Normally these cysts are behind the knee but sometimes push down between the calf muscles and descend. As I said aspirating the cyst did not work so the next step was surgery which was compounded by the MRI showing that there were several small meniscus tears that required an arthroscopy to be done as well as cutting into the back of the calf to remove the cyst.

Fast forward a few weeks and my wife has been going to her physical therapy and has been strengthening her leg. Only now my she is convinced she's feeling the same thing and that her leg is developing another cyst which I pray isn't true. We've been struggling to make it financially and the only thing that has saved us is that we've been getting food and household items from our church and that my mother has been paying for our son Johnny's pre-school tuition combined with my wife's mother sending clothes for her him and helping out in other ways. If it weren't for that help and the overtime that I've been able to get at work I think we would have lost our house by now.

A few weeks back my wife's cousin came for to visit us with her soon to be one year old daughter. Now it has been a bit of a strain on our already delicate situation but we have the space and it's been nice to have them in the house. Plus there was a very good reason for them to visit us for this perhaps indefinite stay but since it's highly personal I won't go into now, Perhaps in a future post about what kind of a man doesn't mind not being around for his only child's birthday, Christmas, etc. At any rate, I was overjoyed to receive a bonus from my employer and with that and some overtime I bought a brand spanking new Dell laptop with which I am posting on this very blog at this very moment. Okay it's also thanks to the WiFi at work (I'm off the clock) but this has made me very happy and I can't wait to really get some writing done once my wife starts working again and I can cut back on the overtime.

I know that as long as we keep plugging away and do what we know is right in our hearts that it will all work out eventually. You just got to persevere and have a little faith.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas and Heavy Metal....How Could Anything Go Wrong?

Here's a little something that combines Christmas, Heavy Metal and comedy which is the way I like it. Sure, you can have your stuffy Christmas music that bores you to tears or you can try something a little................different this year.







Friday, December 10, 2010

New Music From The Cars and Duran Duran

I've been away for awhile but am now back thanks to a bonus check from my job and plenty of overtime. How does that help you say? Wouldn't that actually take more time away from me? Not since the extra money and a great deal allowed me to purchase a new laptop. That makes it a bit clearer doesn't it?

So anyway here I am on break at work typing madly away hoping to finish this quickly but I have to talk briefly about some new music news. The Cars have released a second clip of a song that will be on their new future album that we do not know the name of. Suffice to say I am extremely excited to be hearing this new music from them. The Cars are one of the top bands/artists on my concert wish list that I never got to see play live. So if they decide to follow up the album with a tour I will do whatever I have to in order to see them live. Here's the clip from their new song "Sad Song."



And now for another 80s band that is going to put out new music comes the song "All You Need Is Now." Duran Duran continues to plug away and is also planning a new release for next year. Once the chorus kicks in it sounds very much like classic Duran Duran. Overall I like a few Duran Duran songs but love a bunch of The Cars songs so they are my preferred band at this moment. Anyway, here's the DD song:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Alejandro Escovedo and Trombone Shorty on Austin City Limits 10/23/10

Here we have the entire episode of Austin City Limits from October 23rd that features Alejandro Escovedo and Trombone Shorty. I came across it so since I am such a fan of Al's then I couldn't resist putting it up here.

Watch the full episode. See more Austin City Limits.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Clip Of The Cars New Song Blue Tip

The Cars have posted this video on their Facebook page of a clip of their new song "Blue Tip." The band has finally confirmed that they are recording new music and will be planning a tour as well. It was reported earlier in the year that this would be so but other than posting a picture of themselves in a recording studio they had done nothing else to affirm the news until now. For me this is great news as I was never able to see the band back in the day and I do enjoy their music a great deal. Many people have commented about how they saw The Cars in concert in their heyday and that it was boring as they just basically stood still and played their songs. I however don't care if they jump around and have a ton of pyro or anything like that. Personally all I care about is the music so all that ancillary stuff doesn't matter to me. So here's hoping that they will tour somewhere reasonably close to me so that I can knock The Cars off of my concert wish list.

video

West Virginia Ninja

Okay, my mom told me to look this up and words cannot describe it. It's just..... I'm speechless.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ska and Skanking

Okay I came across this while jumping from video to video on YouTube and I couldn't resist. It's weird and strange which makes it my kinda thing. So get outta your seat, get off your feat and dance to the ska beat!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's A Small World Sometimes

Recently I've reconnected with an old Army friend via Facebook. We were stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. in the early to mid 90s where he was in medical maintenance and I was in personnel records. We were roommates as well living in the Maryland Suburbs and as a matter of fact I was one of his best men at his wedding. I left the military in 1995 and the last I knew he had been sent to Germany for a tour. After that we drifted apart (this was before email was so prevalent) as it happens to so many people. From time to time I would try to look him up on the internet but I never had any luck.

Then came Facebook which I resisted for as long as I could. We've now found each other and are starting to catch up on each others lives and in doing so found out a funny little thing. We both are now Mormons and it appears that we both were introduced to the church by our now wives (singular for each of us not plural). It's a small, small world sometimes. Now, some might be thinking that didn't I just say that I went to see Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer in concert and Iron Maiden before that? Yeah, so what's your point? I am not the most conventional Mormon out there it is true but honestly too many people think that if you're a member of the church, any church, then you can't like music like that. Well I think you're wrong but that's just my opinion. What somebody likes and dislikes is their business and who am I to stick my nose in it? After all, it seems that a ton of people like Air Supply and I can't stand them at all but it doesn't mean I look down my nose at them. Well, maybe just a little.

So soon we'll be talking over the phone and we can catch up on all the little details of our lives. I'm not one to question when something good like this happens, I just plan on enjoying it. It's a good time for it for me too. Just when you need something, there it is.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pictures from Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer

Okay, after too much time I finally get to sit down at the computer and do something. This is the easy way of doing it, just some pictures of the concert in Dallas that I went to on September 24th featuring Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer.

Megadeth






Anthrax









Slayer



Video of Anthrax and Megadeth in Dallas

UPDATED: 10/4/10 I had to restart the computer and even then it took about an hour and a half for the video to upload to YouTube. At least it's on here now.

Okay, the sound is pretty crappy and the image is jerky but that's what happens when you zoom in with my camera. The littlest movement makes it look like an earthquake is shaking everything up. But at least I got it. I'm having difficulty getting the Anthrax video on here but I'll keep trying so I can update this.

Anthrax


Megadeth

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Megadeth and Slayer Playing In Dallas 9/24/10

Okay, so the other two bands on the Jagermeister Music Tour are Megadeth and Slayer. I saw Megadeth about a year or so ago and like them so they are an added bonus. Slayer on the other hand I never really have been into. They just never reached me so I'm not anticipating much from their set. Don't get me wrong, they are part of the Big Four for a reason it's just that they're not my thing. Perhaps I'll be surprised by them, perhaps not. All I can do is to keep an open mind. I've been pleasantly surprised by bands before.



Anthrax

If all goes to plan then tomorrow I'll be in Dallas watching the Jagermeister Music Tour featuring Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer. This will be the first date of the tour and gives everyone a shot at seeing three of the "Big Four" thrash bands all at once. The big draw for me is Anthrax and afterwards I can mark them off of my concert wish list. Joey Belladonna has returned to the fold on vocals which is cool as he was the vocalist on most of my favorite songs by Anthrax. I do like some of the other singers and songs as well but he does my favorites overall. I do wonder how or if they will do some of the songs that came after his time as the other singers were quite a bit different than him. We shall see.







Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Missing Rush, Flat Tires and Life Not Always Going The Way You Want

Rush played in Tulsa last night but unfortunately I wasn't there. I never got a ticket in the months leading up to the show but as the date got closer my family had a bit of bad luck and I just couldn't justify buying the ticket with the money crunch that we've found ourselves in. My wife isn't working at the moment due to an injury that she has suffered. Of course it doesn't make it any easier that her job doesn't provide very much vacation/sick time but also she saw a Physicians Assistant at the doctors office who misdiagnosed her and wasted the last 2 weeks that she could have spent getting healthier. Now we have to wait for an appointment for a MRI. The American Healthcare system does one thing well. Making you wait.

So I was helping a friend of my wife's take a few things to a sale and my left rear tire blew out at 80 miles an hour on Highway 169 (very busy) while I was in the left hand lane. It took almost 2 hours for the tow truck driver to arrive and then take me to a tire shop. Once there I determined that it would be better to replace all 4 tires as the front ones were starting to get bad as well. That was over $400 dollars that we didn't have but you have to do it. I know that eventually everything will work out for the best but man I hope that day comes soon. I did meet a guy at the tire shop who was going to see the show and saw my Rush t-shirt and we had a nice conversation about music. Yes, unlike me he was going to the show.

As for Rush, well I have seen them 6 times so it's not like I've never seen them before and they are supposed to tour again next summer so hopefully I'll see them soon. It wouldn't have been the same anyway since my best friend Tommy wasn't able to go either. He had his colon removed about 2 weeks ago and wasn't able to go. We've gone together to see them 5 of those 6 times. The only times we didn't see them together was in Oklahoma City for him around 1986 and then later there again in the 90s and for me in Stuttgart, Germany. Next year if all goes well we'll be healthy and ready financially, until then as I wait patiently here's a video:

The LeRoi Brothers - Chain Of Love

I remembered this video from back in 1987 and loved it back then. The band is trying to find a club and it turns out that this kid has booked them to appear in his garage. Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton make cameos as the mailman and the kid's mother respectively. After playing the song all the kids run away because the ice cream truck comes by. As we get older our minds can play tricks on us and for some reason I always recalled that Van Halen had a cameo at the end but somehow I have been wrong all these years because they aren't in it. Maybe I confused it with another video, who knows? Still, it's a fun video and a great song.



Band at this time:
Steve Doerr guitar and vocal
Mike Buck drums
Rick "Casper" Rawls guitar
Jackie Newhouse bass

Sunday, September 19, 2010

101 T-Shirts To Help You Relive The 1980’s

http://www.cotygonzales.com/2010/09/14/101-t-shirts-to-help-you-relive-the-1980s/

I came across this website article about 80s t-shirts so I thought I'd post the link to it here. I mean, why not? I'm obviously lazy, and eternally stuck in the 80s so what's the harm in getting an easy post in? Plus if it helps at least one person find their way to buying one of these shirts then it's been time well spent. My favorites are in numerical order: 9, 16, 26, 33, 43, 51, 59, 62, 97, 98. Now if only my mother would get serious and win the lottery so that she could give me some cash, then I'd actually be able to buy them. We can dream, can't we?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alejandro Escovedo performs Sister Lost Soul at the Cain's Ballroom plus Amy Cook

The first video is the only one I shot of Al's performance basically due to me not bringing extra batteries with me. I've learned my lesson. Since the batteries were so low I only got part of the song. The 2nd is from the lady that was in front of me and she also shot the videos that I posted earlier. Either way it was a great performance.

video



For an extra benefit I've put up another Amy Cook song from the same night, "I Wanna Be Your Marianne" which of course was shot by the same lady. Eventually I'll be able to sneak my camera in (with extra batteries) and put up some of my own. By the way, her bass player was awesome, I wish I could find out who he is.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finally Pictures From Alejandro Escovedo's Show

The good news is that the cord that connects my camera to my computer finally decided to cooperate and actually let me pull the pictures and sole video from it. So here are a few of the better pictures that I was able to take of that incredibly wonderful performance. These shots say it a lot better than I ever could so I'll let them speak for themselves.
















Saturday, September 4, 2010

Amy Cook At The Cain's Ballroom

Amy Cook opened for Alejandro Escovedo on his stop at the Cain's Ballroom on August 30th. I had heard some of her songs but didn't really think they were anything that I was interested in and so I felt like I would have to endure her set in order to get to Al who was the performer I was there to see. After watching her performance though I was completely won over. Her songs seemed to take on a new dimension when played live that I didn't initially hear. She was a perfect appetizer for the main musical course of the evening and I definitely would go to see her again, even if Alejandro isn't there.

Moon Rise

Video From Alejandro Escovedo's Show At The Cain's Ballroom

I found these videos on Youtube the other day and I believe the person who took them was standing in front of me at the Cain's Ballroom for Alejandro's show. So why not gather them together in one place? What else have I got to do?

Beast OF Burden


I Wish I Was Your Mother


Sex Beat

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sometimes You Need A Change Of Pace

This past Sunday my wife and I took our son with us to visit an elderly couple from our church that we hadn't seen for some time. They go to a different ward than we do now so we don't get to see them that often. They're at least in their later 80s if not older and recently welcomed a great, great grandchild to their family. My wife stayed with them for a few months when she first moved to Tulsa and she likes to check on them from time to time but as of late we weren't very lucky in trying to catch them at home.

Both my wife and I have been feeling stressed out and out of sorts so it was nice to sit with them and catch up. They have three small dogs and one of them named Tarapoto came to me and laid on me almost the entire time we were there. There's something about me that most cats and dogs pick up on and usually are drawn to. They can sense that I will hold and pet them basically as long as they like. Well Tarapoto stayed with me and I gave him attention almost nonstop and he was in heaven. It made for a very relaxing, tranquil time for me and according to my wife it recharged her batteries. She commented that the spirit is very strong in their house and I agree with her.

At a time when so many things are pulling us in different directions something like this visit helped to center us and bring us back to where we should be. It's difficult with the two of us working different shifts, taking care of our son with no family in the area and trying to progress as people and as a family. It's easy to fall into bad habits and not take the time to communicate with each other but so much harder to put in the work that a relationship requires.

I'm glad we were able to learn a valuable lesson and slow down our pace, visit people who we care about and who care about us and just relax. We need to do more of it more often. That's the trick of course, making the time to do what's really needed instead of spending it how we think it's needed. Hopefully we'll take this lesson to heart.

Alejandro Escovedo at The Cain's Ballroom 8/30/2010



My wife and I were lucky enough to see Alejandro Escovedo and The Sensitive Boys this past Monday at The Cains Ballroom 2nd stage on the last night of their current tour which lasted about 3 1/2 weeks. This was my third time seeing Al and my wife's first time. We got there with enough time to get a seat and then opener Amy Cook took the stage. Right off the bat her microphone wasn't working so while it was getting fixed she came out and stood in front of the audience and did an acoustic Bob Dylan cover. Once her mike was fixed she took the stage with her band and proceeded to surprise me. I had heard some of her songs and decided that I wasn't interested but I have to say that those songs sounded so different when performed. There was some element missing that showed up live. She and her band showed that they really cared about the music they were playing.



Once Al hit the stage it was clear that it was going to be a special night. He played against guitarist David Pulkingham musically and the entire band displayed an intensity that most artists never reach. It was an amazing show! It's very unusual in today's world to see a band perform music that they pour their heart and soul into on a nightly basis. The songs were written on a very personal level and once preformed live they become living, breathing things. They change and grow constantly depending upon the mood of Al and the band. Sometime they are slower, sometimes faster, sometimes different instruments are used, whatever feels right at the time.



The wife first moved over to stand by the left side of the stage with a few other people because she couldn't stay seated once Al started playing. I joined her there and it was apparent that more and more people would be drawn to the front of the stage instead of staying in their seats. It was a wonderful opportunity to take some good pictures but unfortunately I'm having issues with my camera connecting to my computer. For now I have to use the pictures I took with my cellphone.



Al played for almost two hours and he left it all on the stage. I don't think he could have managed another song because he had already put his body and soul into every moment of every song and was more than likely emotionally drained. During the first song of the encore, a slowed down cover of Mott The Hoople's "I Wish I Was Your Mother" that was performed by Al and David the mood was so intense and personal that the lady behind me was crying. That's the kind of night it was.



It would have been nice to hear "Five Hearts Breaking" and my wife would have liked him to have played "The Ballad of the Sun and the Moon" but honestly when you have put out as much music as Al has it's hard to perform every song that every fan wants to hear. Especially since he likes to play a lot of his newer music. He played at least six songs from his latest CD, Street Songs of Love and three or four from the previous one, Real Animal. Honestly, whatever AL wants to play is fine with me, I'll listen to any and all of it.



If you ever get the opportunity I advice you to jump at the chance and go see Alejandro Escovedo in whatever form he is playing. He's well worth the money. I don't think I'll have any problem convincing the wife in the future to see him again, no matter where he's playing. He's that good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Official Trailer For The Movie "Suck"



Let's see, a struggling band gets turned into vampires and success ensues. It stars Malcolm McDowell, Dave Foley, Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Moby, Alex Lifeson (here's my Rush tie-in) and more. Since I like a good comedy and a good vampire movie as much as the next guy I'm sure I'll have to take this one in whenever it makes it's way around here. The hype out there now is that it has all the markings of a potential cult classic so we'll have to stay tuned to see what comes of it.

More Alejandro Ecovedo Live at Waterloo Records



I can't help it, I have to keep posting videos of Al playing live. The man is just an amazing songwriter and performer and thankfully I will get to see him for the third time on Monday at the Cains Ballroom herre in Tulsa. This will be the first time my wife has seen him (assuming she's not pissed at me and ditches me) so I'm betting that she'll be very impressed with his performance. Check back on Tuesday for a show review.

South Park Facebook



I haven't kept up with South Park in a long time but I came across this video and it just seems so right. Too many people get caught up in a numbers competition and don't really take the time to try to connect with people they know or used to know which is the actual purpose of sites like Facebook. As per my earlier post I did finally give in and get a Facebook page but for now thankfully I haven't gone crazy with it. For now. We'll see what the future holds in store for me though.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Papashanty SaundSystem - Wo Noo Nooo



Lately it seems that I find a lot of music from listening to podcasts and this one certainly falls into that category. Papashanty Saundsystem is a reggae/hip hop/freestyle band that comes from Venezuela and you can find them on Facebook and Myspace but unfortunately when I tried to go to their website it seems that it no longer exists so I didn't find a great deal of information on them. They employ a full band and I believe 3 rappers/vocalists. On this song they are using the song "One Step Beyond" from Madness as the basis for this 2 Tone ska sound. Of course they add their own flavor rapping in the song but overall it's very infectious and gets the blood pumping and is done quite well.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Jolly Boys - Rehab

As I am trying to get back into the swing of things and be fully recovered from being sick I came across this video from The Jolly Boys, a mento group that originally formed in Port Antonio Jamaica all the way back in 1955. That's right, 1955. They are still based in Port Antonio and are the house band for the hotel GeeJam. A co-owner (Jon Baker) of GeeJam decided to co-produce an album of rock cover songs done in a modern mento style and it is due out sometime later this year. This particular song was done by Amy Winehouse originally. I'm not much of a fan of hers but I think this song accompanied by the video really shows a very different element than her original. The Jolly Boys have clearly lived long, eventful lives and singer Albert Minott draws upon this life to give the song it an extra, added meaning. After the album comes out they will be doing an international tour and head into uncharted waters for the band. Sometimes huge success can take a lifetime but can be worth the wait if you are worthy, and by the looks of this video The Jolly Boys certainly are.



Official Band:
Albert Minott (lead vocals)
Joseph “Powda” Bennett (vocals, maracas)
Derrick “Johnny” Henry (rumba box)
Allan Swymmer (percussion)
Egbert Watson (banjo)

Touring members:
Dale Virgo (percussion)
Donald Waugh (banjo)
Lenford “Brutus” Richards (guitar)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Moon Ska Videos

I haven't posted a whole lot this month but I do have an excuse of sorts. The wife and I both have been sick and are just now starting to feel better. We're not 100% yet but we're getting there. Anyway, I've had this song running in my head since yesterday and I've learned that when this happens to go with it.

I actually saw Isaac Green & The Skalars at the Penn State Ska Fest sometime around 1997 or 1998 when they were one of the bands playing before ska legend Laurel Aitken. As a matter of fact, I even got an I.D. from their lovely singer Jessica Butler for my ska/reggae show. Ah, the old days.



While I'm at it I thought I'd add a few other videos from the "old days" when Monn Ska put out a lot of music and then a videotape (ask your parents what that means) of various music videos of bands on their label. What follows are just a few of them and by the way, I saw all of these bands at one point or another.







Sunday, August 15, 2010

Think For Yourself My Son

This past weekend my wife and I bought back to school items for our son who is going to a pre-school and it’s the first time for us. Even though it wasn’t very much in quantity I was able to get him a Star Wars folder and a Star Wars notebook and almost got him a Star Wars lunch bag but instead ended up getting him an old school looking metal lunch box from Cars. My wife accused me of pushing Star Wars on him and she’s right of course. A father’s gotta do what a father’s gotta do.

Now, I’m not stupid enough to believe that I will always be able to make my child dislike everything that I think is bad, poorly made or just plain old ridiculous crap. It’s not very sensible to think that he’ll never like any soulless music or any pandering drivel that’s only aim is to take dollars out of our pockets. I know that at least for a little bit of time it’s inevitable. No matter how much I play good music like Alejandro Escovedo, Rush, Satelite Kingston or Grupo Fantasma he will be exposed to something that will be designed to draw young ears to it but will have not one ounce of originality or heart to it. No matter how much I try to teach him to think for himself I know he’ll follow some trends and just do what’s popular. That’s the way it is.

The good news though is that if I do my job as a parent right then maybe that period of following trends will be mercifully short and it won’t take long for him to realize that there’s more to life out there than what’s being force-fed down our throats on TV, movies and radio. After all, I don’t want to raise him to like what I do just because I like it. He should learn how to think for himself and not be afraid to stand up for what he believes in and learn how to tell what’s good from what’s not. It takes time to learn what you really like in life but I think if you learn how to be yourself then the rest will come naturally. Of course what do I know? I’m just a guy trying to do right by my family and praying that I don’t do anything to mess my kid up. But then again, haven’t most of us thought that at one time or another? Thinking for yourself is about the most important thing I think I can ever try to teach my son.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I finally gave in................

Yeah, that's right. I finally gave in and joined that evil, world conquering force known as Facebook. Much like everything in life I held out as long as I could before succumbing to it's allure. Now of course I've found several old friends so it's been good. Only time will tell if Facebook gets subplanted by something even more all encompassing but I'm betting it will within the next 2-3 years. That's how it goes. I would have had a story to put here but my computer at work froze up and after restarting it 4 times I gave up. Perhaps tomorrow I can retrieve it if autosave worked properly.

Los Hamptons meet Satelite Kingston

Here's a video taken in a studio in 2009 where Satelite Kingston and another Argentinean group, Los Hamptons, got together to make some music. They're covering a Bob Marley classic "Hammer." I've got no other info, just wanted to post it here because it sounds nice and I like it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cholizo Salvaje - Music from Chile

Translated from Spanish Cholizo Salvaje means Wild Sausage. I'm not sure what that means but hey, I'll go with it. The band hails from the southern tip of Chile and combines many different musical influences such as cumbia, reggae, ska, Peruvian, Cuban, Folk, Rock and many, many more all mixed together to become a very unique group. They want to become famous or popular but by doing it the right way, staying true to their beliefs and roots. They very much believe in social commitments as well as bringing people together from varied classes, creeds and races.



Their music is like nothing I've ever heard before and is quite wonderful to listen to. If you're so inclined it will get you moving before you even realize it. I found their album Cumbia Chorizo online somewhere and it's quickly becoming a favorite. Check them out.



Lineup:

Natalia Alvarez (La Joya) - Guitar and Voice
Mauricio Molina (Guata) – Huiro y Voz Mauricio Molina (Wadding) - Huiro and Voice
Alejandro Nuñez (Chico Ale) – Percusión Alejandro Nuñez (Chico Ale) - Percussion
Salvador Flores (Salva) – Percusión Flores Salvador (Salva) - Percussion
Pablo Vega – Percusión Pablo Vega - Percussion
Diego Fuentes – Bajo Diego Fuentes - Bass
Heraldo Barrera (Laly) – Trompeta Heraldo Barrera (Laly) - Trumpet
Victor Maldonado (Saxo) – Saxo Victor Maldonado (Sax) - Saxo
Lenin Campos – Trompeta y Representante Lenin Campos - trumpet and Representative

Thursday, August 5, 2010

For The Good Of All

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking that was partly spurred on by my niece going to Africa on a mission. No, I’m not talking about a Blues Brothers kind of mission. She has a college scholarship through her church that requires her to go on a month long mission every summer. The first year she went to Honduras and last year I believe she went to Germany. This year she is in Zambia, Africa and is working at an orphanage in a small town. Her flight touched down in Johannesburg, South Africa the day after the World Cup final match and the next day she flew on a puddle hopper to Zambia and then took a bus to the town that she will be staying in and now she is more than halfway through her time there. Personally I am quite proud of her for going all over the world to help out in whatever small way she can. She could have easily bowed out and declined the scholarship once she found out the conditions but instead she embraced the challenge of experiencing different cultures and people which a lot of young people will no longer attempt to do these days.

As I thought about that I also thought about a young employee at my job that recently graduated from Tulsa University and has decided that before he settles down into his profession of choice he wants to go to South Korea for a year to teach English. After that initial year he may even go to Argentina for an additional year. His case isn’t necessarily as altruistic as my nieces is but still, the idea of doing something like this at such a young age intrigues me and has had me wondering if I could have done something like this back in the day. I mean, you get to really learn about a culture incredibly different than your own and not in the false touristy kind of way where you never really connect with people on an individual basis.

Sure, I’ve seen different countries and different cultures but that was mostly when I was in the Army and although the slogan always said it wasn’t just a job but an adventure it was usually the other way around. For some reason I feel that it’s not the same but I really have no realistic idea why. I mean, in Germany although I did go to some castles and such I also would go to restaurants, record stores and so forth and try to interact with people. When I went to Spain for a week I have to admit that it was a tourist place and there wasn’t much of an attempt to see the “real” Spain but at least I can say I went there. During the first Gulf War in Saudi Arabia I had a handful of experiences with refugees and workers from other countries (as well as a very brief meeting with 2 Iraqi prisoners of war at a field hospital) but I can’t say I got to know them at all. Then two years ago I was able to go with my wife and our son to her native country of Peru where I did get to meet and interact with people in a real life setting which was very cool.

Regardless of why or where I’ve gone I always attempt to understand that foreign countries are just different and that I can’t compare them to where I am from or what I am used to. I feel that you just have to accept them for the way they are and enjoy the experience. Otherwise, why go in the first place? It seems to me to be pretty silly to go to a foreign country and then only try to be around people from your country that speak your language. For instance, a few years back while mindlessly flipping through tv channels I came across one of those “Judge” shows on which an older couple was suing their travel agent because they didn’t have a good time on their trip to Mexico even though they ignored her advice and told her to book them at a specific resort. One of their prime complaints was that while there they came in contact with too many Mexicans………………… I mean, really? You don’t want to see or hear people from that country? That’s one of the great problems with people from my country. They want to go to foreign lands and see many wondrous and beautiful things but only if the people there can speak English to them and have things done in the (North) American way.

Ah well, since I’ve strayed from my original thoughts I guess it’s as good a time as any to end this meandering and go to bed for the night. Before I know it my son will be waking me up but at least I can go to bed dreaming that perhaps he can one day do good things and learn to accept people and cultures for what they are, not where they are.

Shiina Ringo & The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

I just heard this song on the El Inspector podcast which strikes me as strange how such a fantastic song can take me so long to hear it. I mean it only came out in 2001. Since Shiina Ringo is Japanese and sings in her native language I guess I'll cut myself some slack. At any rate, this is a very fast ska song but oh so much more. If you carefully listen to what's going on you will probably be as amazed as I was. This first video is the original version that she did with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and the 2nd appears to be from a concert of hers which does not have the horn section of the original playing so it is subtly different. I can't vouch for any of her other music but this song in particular just blows me away. So remember, you can find great music listening to podcasts, it's out there.



Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Northern Pikes and Kim Mitchell Videos

A week or so ago Iw as poking around YouTube remembering old videos and I wanted to put some on the blog so here are some more. I seem to rembember buying a cassette of The Northern Pikes that featured "She Ain't Pretty" in Austin, Tx while I was stationed at Ft. Hood. IT would have been after the first Gulf War so I'm guessing it was 1993 or 1994 which was several years after it had been released.



My best friend Tom called me up one day about 7 or 8 years ago to see if I could find a song for him even though he didn't know the name artist that sang it. As a matter of fact all he could remember was the words "might as well go for a soda, nobody cares" and the general beat of the song. Well I found it for him and once I listened to it I was sure I'd heard it before but I really can't pinpoint when or whre. Anyway, it's a great song and it came out in 1985.

Go For Soda


What do these Kim Mitchell and The Northern Pikes have in common? They're both from Canada.

A Cars Reunion? Maybe....Maybe



The scuttlebutt on the internet is that seminal 80s band The Cars may be reuniting. A picture posted on the bands official Facebook page shows 4 of the band members(singer Ric Ocasek, keyboardist Greg Hawkes, drummer David Robinson and guitarist Elliot Easton) playing in a home studio. The fifth member, bassist Ben Orr passed away in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. There is supposed to be a link to a story about the reunion rumors with a note that says "Anyone in the mood for a reunion by the Cars?" I say supposed to be because I'm one of those rare people who haven't gotten on Facebook yet so I can't verify it. Back in February Ric Ocasek told Rolling Stone that he was working on new material that would be a surprise.



In 2005 Easton and Hawkes formed The New Cars with Todd Rundgren but they only recorded a few new songs and toured off an on before stopping it on 2007. Of interest is that at that time Ocasek was not interested in reforming the group and Robinson was out of music and also had no interest.

What a difference a few years can make. If this is all true then it will make for some really wonderful news. The Cars were one of my favorite bands growing up and I never was able to see them in concert nor was I able to see The New Cars. If they do tour and record and I will be there to remove one of the bands that I thought I would never have a chance to see live from my concert wish list.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Del Amitri


What can I say about the Scottish band Del Amitri? The band officially started in 1983 and has never technically broken up but also hasn't released an album since 2002. Their biggest success came in 1989 with the release of their album Waking Hours and the single "Kiss This Thing Goodbye" which was re-released the following year in the U.S. and went to # 35. The band never could manage to break into the top 10 in the U.K., # 11 was the best they could manage with the single "Nothing Ever Happens."



In 1992 the band released their album Change Everything and their single "Always The Last To Know" went to # 13 in the U.K. and # 30 in the U.S. They later hit # 10 in the U.S. in 1995 with the song "Roll To Me." I always liked their sound but kind of lost track of them for bit.



Band Lineup:
Justin Currie Lead Vocals, Bass, Guitars
Iain Harvie Vocals, Guitars
Andy Alston Keyboards, Accordion, etc.

Past Members:
Mark Price 1997-2002 Drums
Kris Dollimore 1997-2002 Guitars
Jon McLoughlin 1995-1997 Guitars
Ashley Soan 1994-1997 Drums
David Cummings 1989-1995 Guitars
Chris Sharrock 1995 Drums
Brian McDermott 1989-1993 Drums
Paul Tyagi 1982-1989 Drums
Mick Slaven 1988-1989 Guitars
Bryan Tolland 1982-1988 Guitars
Donald Bentley 1980-1982 Guitars
James Scobbie 1980-1982 Guitars

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Dirty Heads



I found out about The Dirty Heads the other day when I was looking at Sublime With Rome's webpage and saw that they were touring with them quite a bit so I decided to give them a listen. What I heard is a hip-hop, reggae and punk mix that sounds very much like they should come from where they do, Huntington Beach, California. That area is a breeding ground for groups like this that like to experiment musically and merge various styles together. You can find all the infor you want about them at their website here. Seriously when it comes to music like this the best thing you can do is listen to it to get a complete understanding of what they are like so watch these videos, go to YouTube for some live ones and let the music do the talking. Me? I'm already sold on them.

Local Music Showcase At The Flytrap Music Hall

Friday night while at work I received a call from a former employee and dare I say it, friend, who we will call Thomas (basically because that's his name) because he wanted to let me know that his band Kaizen Pursuit (google it for an explanation) would be playing Saturday night at the Flytrap Music Hall and he wanted me to come see them play. This was to be the 2nd time they had played at a local showcase for newer bands at The Flytrap and he said they would probably play at around 9PM but the club hadn't given them any indication of what the order of bands would be.

Upon receiving the okay from my wife (AKA The Boss) I waited for the appropriate time and then jumped into my truck and made the drive in less than 10 minutes. After paying the $5 cover fee I ventured inside and quickly Thomas came up to me and informed me that I had just missed them. Unfortunately they had been the 1st band of the night. Since I hadn't seen Thomas for a few months I thought at least I could hang out for a little while and talk. Okay the thought that I'd paid the cover charge and hadn't even been able to see them play also crossed my mind.

The next band up (and the first for me to see) was, well I didn't catch their name. They sounded like Creed clones (not a good thing in my book) and nobody in the band had any stage presence whatsoever, least of all the vocalist. The most he could manage other than his double fist grab of the microphone was to a take a few shambling steps to one side as if he was some homeless person meandering around looking for something to eat. Luckily for him this is exactly the kind of gig where you can learn how to present yourself to a live audience. I will add that the drummer was very good.

The 3rd band was called Sleepwalking Home and basically they are a female fronted screamo rock band with a commercial sound to them. Again, not my kind of music but at least they had some energy and their vocalist definitely had stage presence. It's not perfected yet but she does have it. I can see how females would gravitate to this band simply because it has a female singer and that might help them in their drive to become bigger but that's not all that they've got. If you like this kind of music then give them a chance based upon the music first.

At this point I was all set to go but for some reason I decided to stay and check out the next band, if only for a song or two. Instead I ended up staying for their entire set. They were a cross between Cypress Hill and Sublime (they sounded like they could have come from Long Beach) as they had 3 rappers (2 who appeared to be Mexican American and 1 who looked like he was a white rasta) and a guitarist who looked like Mick Jones from The Clash. I believe their name was The Informers but since The Flytrap didn't bother to put anything up on their website I can't say for sure. Their set was a bit ragged in part because it seemed like in some songs they had left it open so that they could freeform rap and kind of tag in when they wanted to and then the song would come to a crashing halt. There were plenty of bright spots for me though and I think of the 3 bands they were the most promising because they are so different from the majority of commercial crud out there whether it is local or national. Give them a year or less to work on their song structures and smooth out the rough spots and then watch out. Now if only I could find some info about them on the web, so far I haven't been able to find anything.

There was to be at least 1 more band but I had to bow out since I have to get up early in the morning to teach my Sunday School class. That's right, I said it. Look, as I get up onto my soapbox I'll let you know that I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, mess around or try to force my views and beliefs on others but sometimes I do like to hear live music so cut me some slack. What someone wants to do is their business as long as they aren't hurting somebody else. Don't judge me on your past experiences and I won't judge you on mine. With that said it's now time to get to sleep so that I can get up and teach the aforementioned class. Tomorrow I'll come back and read over this to edit all of my mistakes so until then cut me some slack, I'm tired. Below is a video from Kaizen Pursuits first visit to The Flytrap, maybe next time I'll even be able to see them play.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys Live in Tulsa



Tonight at work I received the very outstanding news that Alejandro Escovedo will be coming to the Cain's Ballroom here in Tulsa on August 30th. Al's music means a lot to me and I have a great deal of respect for him as an artist because he puts out very real and meaningful music in a world that is populated by trend jumping wannabe stars. Don't get me wrong, if huge success were to come his way I don't think he'd turn his nose up at it but I'd like to think that he would make it on his terms, not those dictated to him by some schmuck in a suit who knows nothing of music, only numbers learned in marketing school. No, Al's music is very personal and it seems to be a way that he can express he feelings and frustrations with whatever life throws his way, not matter how good or bad it may be. That's the best term that I can use to describe him and his music, real.



You can make a safe bet that I will be there bright and early for this inexpensive show. The tickets are only $18 in advance and $20 the day of the show and if you want a good return on your money then this is the investment for you. If you don't leave the show with a warm glow all over you then you have to be either emotionally numb or a zombie. Of course, that's just my opinion, what do I know? I've seen Alejandro twice before, the first time was on Mountain Stage in Charleston, WV back in 2001 and the 2nd was in Oklahoma City in 2002 which was not that long after I moved back to Oklahoma. So it's been a long 8 years since I've seen Al play live and I am extremely happy that he is finally coming to Tulsa. You can call it an early birthday present for me and look for me close to the stage, I'll be the one singing along all night long.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What A Day, Driving, Doctors and Shots

Sometimes you just have days that are filled with so many things to do that you can hardly have time to breathe and yesterday was one of them for me. After getting off of work at midnight and not feeling well all day long I was dreaming of going home and relaxing for a little bit before going to bed. I started driving home and received a call from my wife which meant that my plans were about to be dashed against the proverbial rocks as is the norm. She was going to bed but wanted to let me know that she had just one thing for me to do. She had boiled some chicken and all I had to do was shred it. Oh and then mix it in with the sauce that she had made for the Peruvian dish Aji De Pollo. And then cut up the potatoes that she had boiled earlier and had put in the refrigerator. Then I would need to put the pillow cases on the pillows since she had made the bed (long story involving a child, pee and me doing laundry earlier in the day) so of course I said okay as if I had a choice in the matter. But first I got on the computer for a few minutes until she woke up and went from our sons room to ours. Knowing my place I decided to get busy and take care of everything. After finally getting done I was able to go to bed at about 2:30 AM.

I woke up at 8:30 AM to get my sons lunch and backpack ready, woke him up and dressed him and then took him to pre-school at 9:30 AM. Leaving there I raced over to Employee Health at the hospital I work at and had them read my TB tine test from 2days before and I was administered an MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) inoculation in the arm. This was because the federal regulations have changed and I couldn't find my military shot records to prove to them that I had the MMR when I was a child and while I was in the Army. From there I was able to come home and eat some lunch before being blessed with a 25 minute nap.

Upon awakening and taking a shower I then journeyed to my doctors office for a follow up appointment where the news was mostly good. 2 weeks before, my blood pressure was too high but this time it had come down. In the past my blood pressure was at extremely good levels so this was a bit of a shock for me. My labs were okay for the most part other than my cholesterol being a bit high and my testosterone being significantly low. That's right, I said it. Significantly low. This was nothing new to me as I had found out before my son was conceived that I had low testosterone. Lately though I hadn't been feeling well and all of my symptoms pointed to my testosterone level dropping more and more. At this point in my life I thought that if taking testosterone replacement could give me more energy and allow me the chance for a better quality of life I was all for it. I'm just tired of feeling as bad as I have been. It wears on you over time and I have a 3 year old that I want to be able to actively raise instead of watching him grow up from a distance. Plus the wife wants another child so I needed some help, STAT.

The doctor reviewed the risk factors and agreed that I was a good candidate so we decided to go ahead with the therapy. That is after one more thing was checked out. You guessed it, I'm talking about the rectal exam which I was not expecting. The was the 2nd that I've had and one good thing about it is that it shows that I could never be a good homosexual. Just that brief intrusion into my most private of parts by one finger (at least I hope it was only one)from the doctor (at least I hope he was a doctor) was all I was able to bear. It was so incredibly uncomfortable that I could barely stand it. Literally. After that I received my testosterone shot which I will need to take every 3 weeks. The only other option was a cream that has to be applied daily and I know how forgetful I am so I went with the shot.

Afterwards I raced home and changed clothes and then picked up my son from his pre-school, raced back home and changed his clothes and then drove to work where my wife picked him up. Mind you all this with temperatures in the high 90s and my air conditioning not working properly. The next 8 and 1/2 hours at work went pretty fast and now I find myself with a sore arm and a sore, uhhh hip, sitting here at the computer when I should be sleeping but hey, I have to unwind somehow and this is one of the ways I do it. It wasn't a typical day for me but it was an interesting one.