Saturday, January 24, 2009

Three years and 489 posts later

Well, it's now been three years of absolute delight documenting the musical paths of Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns and our many incredible friends in the extended tribe in Vegas and beyond. This was my first attempt at doing a blog (I now have another where I rant on -- mostly "samizdat" -- about other stuff).

Worked out rather nicely, I think. When I scroll back through all the stuff herein, I'm amazed at the extensive body of work it all comprises. You just don't think about it while having so much fun. 489 posts to date, untold thousands of shots. I've lost track. To date, I have 15,328 shots in iPhoto, almost all of which pertain to the band and our friends. Then there are the myriad shots that pre-date my iMac. These are strewn about in various folders, some of them on my old Compaq WinDoze laptop. Chewed up so much space with all the uploaded "keepers" gig photography, I had to start paying Google for server storage, LOL! (It's only 20 bucks a year for up to 10 gigs, BFD.)

We're still relatively "small" in terms of viewership, but the traffic steadily grows. We're now up to about 3,500 hits a month from more than 1,500 individual peeps. About 60% are locals, the rest come from all over the planet.

Last year I set a goal to start doing topical audio podcasts. Done. There are two big, interrelated, goals I've set for myself for this year: acquisition of corporate sponsorship/patronage for the band, and the introduction of "live-blogging" the gigs via real-time (and archival) video webcasting. The challenges there will likely be way more legal than technological.

As a former player, I totally understand the struggle, which accounts -- in part -- for why I do what I do without expectation of anything in return (the doing largely is the reward). The other compelling reason is that virtually everyone I've met in connection with Jerry and the guys has been so nice, so friendly, so real. You would think that a place like Vegas would be completely overflowing with insufferable bullshit preening ego and arrogance. While I'm sure there's plenty of that around (just like anywhere, but moreso in an entertainment Mecca), it has not been my experience runnin' with all of you. Not at all.

I'm kind of a strange cat. All I ever wanted to do was play guitar for a living, but even as a young dude decades ago trapsing around the country gigging, I was a bit of a fish out of water. Probably the only road guitar player around with subscriptions to Ramparts, Harper's, The Altantic, The New Yorker, The Washington Monthly, etc. I've been a voracious reader my entire life. I never had any use for the typical musician pastime small-talk -- rappin' endlessly about axes and gear, talkin' about other players and discographies, etc. 'Yeah, blah, blah, blah, but can you play your axe?' (Reminds me of beer-belly barstool sports fan dudes -- coaching geniuses, all -- who can spout all this comprehensive roster and box score stuff, but would go flat-line after two trips up and down the court.)

That's what's so cool about Jerry's new tune "When The Curtain Goes Up, (The Bullshit Stops)..."

Then, in 1986 I ditched my axe to become Mr. Serious White Collar. And, so here I am then in the Dilbert Zone world of the Suits, and they mostly don't get it when it comes to the imperative of the arts. And, having a life outside the cubicle is often frowned upon.

But, now I have all these great friends! That's a new one for me, a circumstance I totally cherish. Been a great three years, notwithstanding having been summarily kicked to the day gig curb two years ago, LOL!

Speaking of friends, my very best friend of nearly 35 years will be home in two weeks and will be at the gig on Feb 9th (my 63rd birthday). Yes!

xoxoxo
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RANDOM STUFF

Cheryl went to an inaugural celebration Tuesday night in Walnut Creek. Among the people she met was Bay Area artist Suzanne Cerny. Suzanne does a lot of art focusing on the jazz world, and is featured on the Jazz.com website. Below, her rendition of guitarist Pat Metheny.

Below, Suzanne recently did some work pertaining to Barack Obama.

Very cool. Check out her portfolio, lots of very nice stuff there.

INTERESTING NPR "FRESH AIR" SEGMENT
"The Rise And Fall Of The Music Industry"

Fresh Air from WHYY, January 14, 2009 - Rolling Stone contributing editor Steve Knopper chronicles the rise of the record industry — and its subsequent digital-age collapse — in his new book, Appetite For Self-Destruction.


Very cool. I first heard it while in my car. You can order the book online here if you've any interest.
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MICHAEL McDONALD

Yikes! Gabriel and Linda treated me to the Michael McDonald concert down in Primm Thursday night at Buffalo Bill's. Wow. Thank you!

Beyond his legendary songwriting and vocals, Michael's piano chops are totally A-List. That was my first time hearing him live. Cat is awesome. Sure would love it if we could get him to come and hang and sit in with Santa Fe.

SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN BUGGIN' ME

Given the harsh and negative subject matter, I've debated the pros & cons of posting what follows on this blog. Indulge me. We always affirm that it's all about The Healing, the beneficent force of music, right? But, how about a circumstance where music is used as an agent of harm?

Interestingly, one of our new President Obama's first official executive orders this week was that of requiring the beginning the closure process for the Gitmo military prison and the official repudiation and banning henceforth of our use of torture.

I recall posting stuff here one time about one utilitarian reason for supporting the arts -- namely, that, IIRC, I said something like "Every minute someone holds a musical instrument is a minute not spent holding a weapon."

Were it only so simple, I guess. I saw this distressing MSNBC news item not too long ago.
Musicians don’t want tunes used for torture
Nine Inch Nails, even ‘Sesame Street’ theme used for interrogations

Associated Press
updated 2:48 p.m. PT, Tues., Dec. 9, 2008


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Blaring from a speaker behind a metal grate in his tiny cell in Iraq, the blistering rock from Nine Inch Nails hit Prisoner No. 200343 like a sonic bludgeon.

“Stains like the blood on your teeth,” Trent Reznor snarled over distorted guitars. “Bite. Chew.”

The auditory assault went on for days, then weeks, then months at the U.S. military detention center in Iraq. Twenty hours a day. AC/DC. Queen. Pantera. The prisoner, military contractor Donald Vance of Chicago, told The Associated Press he was soon suicidal.

The tactic has been common in the U.S. war on terror, with forces systematically using loud music on hundreds of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the U.S. military commander in Iraq, authorized it on Sept. 14, 2003, “to create fear, disorient ... and prolong capture shock.”

Now the detainees aren’t the only ones complaining. Musicians are banding together to demand the U.S. military stop using their songs as weapons.

A campaign being launched Wednesday has brought together groups including Massive Attack and musicians such as Tom Morello, who played with Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave and is now on a solo tour. It will feature minutes of silence during concerts and festivals, said Chloe Davies of the British law group Reprieve, which represents dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees and is organizing the campaign.

At least Vance, who says he was jailed for reporting illegal arms sales, was used to rock music. For many detainees who grew up in Afghanistan — where music was prohibited under Taliban rule — interrogations by U.S. forces marked their first exposure to the pounding rhythms, played at top volume.

‘Plenty lost their minds’
The experience was overwhelming for many. Binyam Mohammed, now a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, said men held with him at the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan wound up screaming and smashing their heads against walls, unable to endure more...

FBI agents stationed at Guantanamo Bay reported numerous instances in which music was blasted at detainees, saying they were “told such tactics were common there.”

According to an FBI memo, one interrogator at Guantanamo Bay bragged he needed only four days to “break” someone by alternating 16 hours of music and lights with four hours of silence and darkness...

Some musicians, however, say they’re proud that their music is used in interrogations. Those include bassist Stevie Benton, whose group Drowning Pool has performed in Iraq and recorded one of the interrogators’ favorites, “Bodies.”

“People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that played over and over it can psychologically break someone down,” he told Spin magazine. “I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that.”

The band’s record label told AP that Benton did not want to comment further. Instead, the band issued a statement reading: “Drowning Pool is committed to supporting the lives and rights of our troops stationed around the world.”...
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OK. "Drowning Pool."

"Bodies"? Take a listen:

Well, to me, that stuff is "torture." The audio equivalent of a chainsaw slasher flick. A grinding/droning B-B-B-B, C-C, D-D vamp underpinning these swell "'lyrics," puked in Primal Scream "pitch" -

Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor

Let the bodies hit the....
floor!!!
Beaten why for (why for)
can't take much more
here we go,
here we go, here we go now


One - Nothing wrong with me

Two - Nothing wrong with me

Three - Nothing wrong with me
Four - Nothing wrong with me

One - Something's got to give

Two - Something's got to give

Three - Something's got to give

Now!!!(you can't hurt me!)


Let the bodies hit the floor

Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the
Floor!!!
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the Floor!!!!

Now!!! Rush me again
This is the end

here we go, here we go, here we go now

One - Nothing wrong with me

Two - Nothing wrong with me
Three - Nothing wrong with me
Four - Nothing wrong with me
One - Something's got to give

Two - Something's got to give

Three - Something's got to give

Now!!!(you can't hurt me!)
(you can't hurt me!)


Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the Floor!!!
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor

Skin against skin blood and bone

You're all by yourself but you're not alone
You wanted in an' now you're here
Driven by hate consumed by fear

Let the bodies hit the floor

Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor

Let the bodies hit the FLOOR!!!


One - Nothing wrong with me

Two - Nothing wrong with me

Three - Nothing wrong with me
Four - Nothing wrong with

One - Something's got to give

Two - Something's got to give

Three - Something's got to give
Now!!!

Let the bodies hit the floor

Let the bodies hit the floor

Let the bodies hit the Floor!!!
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor
Let the bodies hit the floor


Whatever. How eloquent, empathic, and insightful. The word "drool" comes to mind. Intrinsically appealing, one would think, to the Future Inmates Of America demographic.

To recap:
“People assume we should be offended that somebody in the military thinks our song is annoying enough that played over and over it can psychologically break someone down,” he told Spin magazine. “I take it as an honor to think that perhaps our song could be used to quell another 9/11 attack or something like that.”

Well, boys, proud patriots that you are, you at least got the "annoying" part right.


Couple of observations. First of all, if you cats want to do something truly substantive about preventing another 9/11, I have a link for you:

Pull a Pat Tillman and sign up. Ask specifically for FOB (Forward Operating Base) infantry duty in Afghanistan. Spare us the Chickenhawk Toby Keith flag-brandishing poseur crap. Make us proud. Regale us by recounting your actual heroics in defense of the nation.

No? Too busy gigging?

Imagine my surprise.

Second, I have written in some detail on my other blog about this entire torture issue. See my "Catachresis" post.

The overwhelming consensus among defense and intel professionals is that torture, beyond the fact that it is a war crime, is counterproductive. Faux Tough Guy intellectual dilettantes who advocate it are in my view simply -- and simplistically -- indulging in a vicarious at-a-safe-distance lust for vengeance (which makes them no better than our enemies, if you give it just the slightest bit of clear, rational thought). These very same people would last all of 5 seconds if subjected to such measures, and would be straight away screaming at 130 dB for their Mommas and their "rights."
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MOVING ON

OK, that was depressing. Sorry. But, ya feel me?

Jamie was recently raving to me about the movie "Tropic Thunder." OMG! I rented it last night. He's right. One of the funniest flicks I've ever seen.



Yeah, they got it right on the money. A total spoof on every war movie and Hollywood ego cliche. I gotta buy a DVD copy of that.

3 comments:

Jerry Lopez said...

Bobby,
I'm a miner. I mine for jewels among the mud and rocks. You my friend of one of the most precious I have had the great fortune to find. Thank you for your contribution to this cities musical and artistic stew. You added just the right flavor
Love ya,

BobbyG said...

Jerry, the feeling is so mutual. Thank you my brother. I am blessed to know you, and all of the tribe.

Dustin said...

Bobby, I am thoroughly impressed with what you've done in 3 years with this blog. I aspire to one day reach the level of coolness that you have. If you need ANY web professional help, just let me know and I will give all I've got!! I'm anxious to help.