Saturday, January 27, 2007


JOE MEEK was an excentric English recording engineer and independent record producer…in fact, he was the first of this breed. He is the patron saint of home recorders – after getting kicked out of Abbey Road (or Landsdown Road??) for recording with distortion on purpose (plus other audio & personality high crimes), he set up shop in his apartment at 304 Holloway Road in North London.

After a string of hits including the FANTASTIC “Telstar” and “Have I The Right?” by The Honeycombs, he got progressively screwy, got popped several times for soliciting and eventually shot his landlord & himself on February 3rd, 1967.

Tough business, this pop life. He was a genius.


NP: “It’s Hard To Believe It”/The Best of Joe Meek

PEEVE DE JOUR: not enough time with WG. not enough time to finish the cover of "Fortunate Son". not enough sleep. not enough dough. not enough. not enough. not enough.

JOIE DE JOUR: taking my kid & WG to “Arthur & The Invisibles”. rehearsing with HG & 2/3rds of Chi-Pig for BH's 60th birthday party.

cb…where are you?


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


NB - my friend and mentor, Robert Kidney is...ah, i'll just let SS tell it:

cb & BK

New Yorkers, please take note that fabled Ohio rock godhead Robert Kidney, of 15-60-75/Numbers Band fame, will be making an extremely rare local appearance on Thursday, January 25 (that's tomorrow) at 11:00 at the Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery at Bleecker (across from the former CBGB). He'll be accompanied by a rhythm section worthy of his legend, namely Tony Maimone on bass and Anton Fier on drums. Screw the weather—this is a significant event. It's also kind of a last-minute booking, so please pass this announcement on to anyone who needs to know.

band link:

..and MB writes in praise of BK:

The runic and twisted-inside pilot, propeller, and engine of Ohio’s legendary Numbers Band, Bob Kidney, a maven and maverick, is not an easy man to warm up to. His version of the blues is not Texan, cotton field, or Windied City; it is private, introverted, and existential. His readings of rock, let’s say rock from 1957-1965, are as equally tormented and as willfully obtuse as are his vocals and arrangements: stabbing strategies always slanted and enchanted. The guiding internal bifurcating dichotomy—as with other hunger artists—is between the public performer’s desire to quench a barroom of the distaff and yearning and the performer’s own private journey to critically examine his private world, the postage stamp-sized Kent, Ohio. But in this world, he and his various cohorts have challenged our various safe aesthetics of sameness and comfort. His many variations upon the themes of the blues and the individual have become part and parcel of that bitter-left-for-dead environ: Bob Kidney is us, them, and you, just meaner and more talented.

His principle greatness lies with his ability to lead: his bands are tight, pertinent, and savagely pellucid: there are no wasted beats, no free form jamming, no accidental improvising. As with other great bandleaders—Basie, Brown (James), and Beefheart—The Numbers band do not scale dizzy heights or plumb anguished depths. They are steady and surefooted, like Sisyphus. On stage and on record the Numbers Band do not rock or roll, they throb and glisten, like an open wound. Humor, chitchat, and asides are not weapons in their arsenals; they strip things down, make us remember that essentials are what’s left after our second spouses say, enough is enough, I want to see Paris. Fuck France, Kidney says—this is the world that we all share, a world of itinerants, shady conmen, and trapped wives, a world of evanescent logic and transitory beauty. The Numbers Band are at their fiercest and most uncompromising when they settle back, mid way though their second sets, and just blow, not so much as pals, but as competitors, ill at ease and stingy in their admiration.

This economy is of course reflected in Kidney’s own temperament. He likes paintings of monochrome; his poems are dreamy fragments collected in the snowy season. In that Kidney rejects almost everything conventional—he prefers the dark, ineffable, and self-lacerating over their easy antiphonies—he also rejects performance as an act of engagement or dialogue. Kidney’s great contribution to American culture—as with Mae West, Spike Jones, or Sam Fuller—is his omnipresent middle finger. No matter how many dancers are five feet in front yearning for steadied rhythms and pleasant memories from their car radios Kidney is ever ready to dash those Platonic desires with one guitar solo so Torquemada-ish, one glance so piercing, one breathless, transitionless leap into a dissonant, sideways look at JB Lenoir, that not only do the dancers stop, shift, and start anew, but they do it with the full knowledge of their hopes for happiness being vanquished at the next junction of bittersweet memoirs. Kidney was not put here to placate or pacify; his job is to stand above us, stern, unyielding, and sing about our confusion and limits. Bob Kidney is no hero. Bob Kidney is no philosopher. He is, however, our salvation: he has written the songs that will be sung at our funerals and wakes.


Monday, January 15, 2007


from KA in the UK:


Departure from the common and boring - Next stop the wild and crazy

For the most part Soviet architecture and design is remembered for its heavy block buildings and functionally Spartan designs. Its overpowering desire for conformity left little room for individual creative freedom. A notable exceptions to this is in the transportation sector. One can admire this creativity in the Metro stations of cities like Moscow and Tashkent where the coldness and sterility of typical soviet urban architecture is abandoned and costs are not spared as creative freedom is unleashed. While many of us are aware of the elaborate splendor of the Moscow underground, it is easy to overlook the phenomenon of the common roadside bus stop as an example of soviet art and design letting loose and becoming a little weird and crazy.

The roadside bus stop serves a simple purpose – to show where the bus will stop and to provide some comfort and shelter for waiting passengers. One would think that the Soviets would have come up with one universal design for this community structure – simple, functional and cheap to mass produce. However, in many instances this was not the case, much time, effort and imagination went into many roadside bus stops. The sky was the limit with different shapes and design– blocks, domes, columns, towers, A-frames and archways, even ones shaped like birds, yurts and hats. If the bus stop was less bold and daring with its architectural design then the creators would often attract attention with decorating the structure with murals or mosaics. The themes that these decorated bus stops took usually varied depending on the region, often reflecting the local culture, history, or industries.

Sadly, with the breakup of the Soviet Union many of the bus stops are quickly deteriorating from their original glory. That being said some local communities have recognized the local treasures as worthy of preserving and have maintained and repainted them. They will appear in the most unlikely places – sometimes in the middle of the desert, steppe or countryside, sometimes with no homes in sight. They will make you wonder why and they will make you smile. The following collection of images was taken during 2002 and 2006, starting with a cycling trip through the Baltic countries to St. Petersburg and followed by several road trips around Central Asia.

Christopher Herwig Photography

NP: Dots Will Echo/wonderful new CD given to me at Maxwell's on Saturday. one of my favorite musicians, favorite people and favorite ideabounceroffer. you're right,'s great!

PEEVE DE JOUR: 1) happy yesyougotdumpedayearago anniversay. 2) anybody got $20k??

JOIE DE JOUR: WG gave me a copy of her Mad Magazine book!


Night owl performance
Brian Dewan sings from 11pm - midnight
On Rubulad's Cabaret stage

Friday, January 19th, 2007
338 Flushing Ave., bet. Classon & Taaffee

Directions and complete description of Rubulad event below:

Rubulad Presents: Laundry Day!

A mis-matched sock hop* in which we wear our last, weirdest left-over clothing

live music by:

Jollyship the Whizbang (with puppets)
Inner Princess (with special Circus Amok Band guests)
Fur Cups for Teeth
and DJ / Sound God Kris Anton

with DJs brought to you by Small Change
DJ Farika
DJ Collective All-Stars (four-way tag team madness
with Kingfish, DJ
Needles, Scribe and Jon Oliver)
DJ Salty
Ted Schred
Nappy G
Small Change
and more!

On the Cabaret Stage
Brian Dewan
Zef Noi$e
Touching You / Christopher X. Brodeur
Mikey IQ Jones
with MC / DJ Aaroneous

Light Circus of Norm Francoeur
Sweets by Brownie Points
Food by Vicious Delicious
Starlight Lounge w/ tent
Laundry Line Exchange (bring an item / take an item line – clothespins provided)

Dress: silly – grannie panties, roller curlers, hideous housecoats, the works

10:00 pm doors; 11:00 show; 10 beans

Rubulad Home Base: 338 Flushing Ave., bet. Classon & Taaffee L train to Bedford Avenue > B61 bus on Driggs to Flushing Ave (10 mins) > left under BQE > Rubulad's on your right just past the gas station *OR* J / M / Z to Marcy Ave > walk along BQE > left under BQE at Flushing.

Or G Train to Flushing and follow address numbers.

Note: The B61 bus runs from Greenpoint to Red Hook through Dumbo and Downtown Brooklyn. The B57 bus will take you to and from Bushwick, fast.

It all comes out in the wash!

You can help us continue to have a Rubulad in this space by being quiet coming and going, staying inside the space during the event and not pissing all over the sidewalk as soon as you getaround the corner, which, incidentally, does attract the police and they will write you a summons.

The less our neighbors have to complain about, the more fun we can have.

FYI, the Idiotarod is just around the corner. Go to for more info.

*Don't actually come in your socks, though

cb...where are you?


Thursday, January 11, 2007


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


play Maximum Surf & Hard Twang!

Friday, January 12, 10 PM - midnight
505 8th Street (betwixt Jefferson and Madison) in Hoboken, NJ.
Phone: 201-792-5550

No Cover

Ted Lawrence & Johnny Teagle - Fender & Gretsch guitars
Baker Rorick - Fender bass
Chris Butler - Premier drums

see ya!

NP: Roomie is playing some RCA-era Elvis. The Hillbilly Cat still sounds strong.

NR (Now Reading): "The Republic of Dreams", which is a history of Greenwich Village bohemianism = Mabel Dodge, Max Eastman, John Reed & Eugene O'Neill so far...and more wisdom about the psychology of women, and of being an Outsider's "Boho For Dummies".

PEEVE DE JOUR: tax time.

JOIE DE JOUR: Maria is helping make The Lawn Lawyer a reality. more on this soon...

cb...where are you?


Saturday, January 06, 2007


as i told y'all, i play Premier drums. lots of them. they are beautifully & carefully made, sound great and are affordable. there are tons for sale on eBay (mostly from England), and it's fun to peek into a typical English sitting room, where the pix of the drums always seem to be snapped.

but British flats are small, so most kits were stored in outbuildings and garden sheds. problem: moist ol' England ruins all these drums' finishes = from Roy Goode i got the following (paraphrased) lore:

"Premier used Italian accordian wrap during the '50's and '60's, which is stunning when in good shape. it's real "glass glitter" with rich, strong coloring and shimmer...but the wraps were poorly sealed and soaked up damp like a sponge. too often, a black, spotty mold started to grow inside the wrap. it's nick-named "Garden Shed Mange". and add to that a real susseptability to fading in even weak sunlight...and you've got a whole lot of ugly- looking drums."

i have three kits worth of Aquamarine Sparkle...and none...repeat none..of the individual drums match.

NP: driving thru PA, i heard Sugarland's "Baby Girl" again, with the unbelievably great line in the second verse "girl...remember what your knees are for" as in for praying, not strategic blowjobs to help the song's character's musical career. probably the best lyric line written in the last 30 years.

and pal Guy Pernetti's CD of solo guitar instrumentals was perfect for a rainy drive. nice work, GP!

PEEVE DE JOUR: i have to wait until Monday to meet the woman who built the World's Largest Garden Gnome!!:


i've got many of these and they kill. if you want to know what they sound like, listen to The Beatles version of "Twist & Shout" (clip takes a minute to load, but it does eventually play):

Mr. Richard Starkey with his Premier kit & 4 x 16 Royal Ace snare.

cb...where are you?


Friday, January 05, 2007



By Clive Thompson

Published: January 3, 2007

MONTREAL: 'Listen to this," Daniel Levitin said. "What is it?" He hit a button on his computer keyboard and out came a half-second clip of music. It was just two notes blasted on a raspy electric guitar, but I could immediately identify it: the opening lick to the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar."

Then he played another, even shorter snippet: a single chord struck once on piano. Again I could instantly figure out what it was: the first note in Elton John's "Benny and the Jets."

Levitin beamed. "You hear only one note, and you already know who it is," he said. "So what I want to know is: how we do this? Why are we so good at recognizing music?"

This is not merely some whoa-dude epiphany that a music fan might have while listening to a radio contest. Levitin has devoted his career to exploring this question. He is a cognitive psychologist who runs the Laboratory for Music Perception, Cognition and Expertise at McGill University in Montreal, perhaps the world's leading lab in probing why music has such an intense effect on us.

"By the age of 5 we are all musical experts, so this stuff is clearly wired really deeply into us," said Levitin, an eerily youthful-looking 49, surrounded by the pianos, guitars and enormous 16-track mixers that make his lab look more like a recording studio.Click here to find out more!

Last summer he published "This Is Your Brain on Music," a layperson's guide to the emerging neuroscience of music. Levitin is an unusually deft interpreter, full of striking scientific trivia. For example we learn that babies begin life with synesthesia, the trippy confusion that makes people experience sounds as smells or tastes as colors. Or that the cerebellum, a part of the brain that helps govern movement, is also wired to the ears and produces some of our emotional responses to music. His experiments have even suggested that watching a musician perform affects brain chemistry differently from listening to a recording.

Levitin is singular among music scientists for actually having come out of the music industry. Before getting his Ph.D. he spent 15 years as a record producer, working with artists ranging from Blue Oyster Cult to Chris Isaak. While still in graduate school he helped Stevie Wonder assemble a best-of collection; in 1992 Levitin's sensitive ears detected that MCA Records had accidentally used third-generation backup tapes to produce seven Steely Dan CDs, and he embarrassed the label by disclosing it in Billboard magazine. He has earned nine gold and platinum albums, which he tucks in corners of his lab, office and home. "They look a little scary when you put them all in one place," he said.

Scientifically, Levitin's colleagues credit him with focusing attention on how music affects our emotions, turf that wasn't often covered by previous generations of psychoacousticians, who studied narrower questions about how the brain perceives musical sounds. "The questions he asks are very, very musical, very concerned with the fact that music is an art that we interact with, not just a bunch of noises," said Rita Aiello, an adjunct professor in the department of psychology at New York University.

Ultimately, scientists say, his work offers a new way to unlock the mysteries of the brain: how memory works, how people with autism think, why our ancestors first picked up instruments and began to play.

Levitin originally became interested in producing in 1981, when his band — a punk outfit called the Mortals — went into the recording studio. None of the other members were interested in the process, so he made all the decisions behind the board. "I actually became a producer because I saw the producers getting all the babes," he said. He dropped out of college to work with alternative bands.

Producers, he noted, were able to notice impossibly fine gradations of quality in music. Many could identify by ear the type of amplifiers and recording tape used on an album.

"So I started wondering: How was the brain able to do this?" Levitin said. "What's going on there, and why are some people better than others? And why is music such an emotional experience?" He began sitting in on neuroscience classes at Stanford University.

By the '90s Levitin was disenchanted with the music industry. "When they're dropping Van Morrison and Elvis Costello because they don't sell enough records," he said, "I knew it was time to move on." Academic friends persuaded him to pursue a science degree. They bet that he would have good intuitions on how to design music experiments. They were right.

For his first experiment he came up with an elegant concept: He stopped people on the street and asked them to sing, entirely from memory, one of their favorite hit songs. The results were astonishingly accurate. Most people could hit the tempo of the original song within a 4 percent margin of error, and two-thirds sang within a semitone of the original pitch, a level of accuracy that wouldn't embarrass a pro.

"When you played the recording of them singing alongside the actual recording of the original song, it sounded like they were singing along," Levitin said.

It was a remarkable feat. Most memories degrade and distort with time; why would pop music memories be so sharply encoded? Perhaps because music triggers the reward centers in our brains. In a study published last year Levitin and group of neuroscientists mapped out precisely how.

Observing 13 subjects who listened to classical music while in an MRI machine, the scientists found a cascade of brain-chemical activity. First the music triggered the forebrain, as it analyzed the structure and meaning of the tune. Then the nucleus accumbus and ventral tegmental area activated to release dopamine, a chemical that triggers the brain's sense of reward.

The cerebellum, an area normally associated with physical movement, reacted too, responding to what Levitin suspected was the brain's predictions of where the song was going to go. As the brain internalizes the tempo, rhythm and emotional peaks of a song, the cerebellum begins reacting every time the song produces tension (that is, subtle deviations from its normal melody or tempo).

"When we saw all this activity going on precisely in sync, in this order, we knew we had the smoking gun," he said. "We've always known that music is good for improving your mood. But this showed precisely how it happens."

The subtlest reason that pop music is so flavorful to our brains is that it relies so strongly on timbre. Timbre is a peculiar blend of tones in any sound; it is why a tuba sounds so different from a flute even when they are playing the same melody in the same key. Popular performers or groups, Levitin argued, are pleasing not because of any particular virtuosity, but because they create an overall timbre that remains consistent from song to song. That quality explains why, for example, I could identify even a single note of Elton John's "Benny and the Jets."

"Nobody else's piano sounds quite like that," he said, referring to John. "Pop musicians compose with timbre. Pitch and harmony are becoming less important."

Levitin's work has occasionally undermined some cherished beliefs about music. For example recent years have seen an explosion of "Baby Mozart" videos and toys, based on the idea, popular since the '80s, that musical and mathematical ability are inherently linked.

But Levitin argued that this could not be true, based on his study of people with Williams syndrome, a genetic disorder that leaves people with low intelligence. Their peak mental capacities are typically those of a young child, with no ability to calculate quantities. Levitin once asked a woman with Williams to hold up her hand for five seconds; she left it in the air for a minute and a half. "No concept of time at all," he said, "and definitely no math."

Yet people with Williams possess unusually high levels of musical ability. One Williams boy Levitin met was so poorly coordinated he could not open the case to his clarinet. But once he was holding the instrument, his coordination problems vanished, and he could play fluidly.

Not all of Levitin's idea have been easily accepted. He argues, for example, that music is an evolutionary adaptation: something that men developed as a way to demonstrate reproductive fitness. Music also helped social groups cohere. "Music has got to be useful for survival, or we would have gotten rid of it years ago," he said.

NP: [silence]

PEEVE DE JOUR: have spent the past few days working on a cover of "Fortunate Son" for Danny Miller’s Kent State/May 4th movie. Slow, am I rusty…first crack at doing a full-blown recording like this in two years, and first time mic-ing up a drum kit with ProTools. I’d forgotten how HARD this is. but it's also kinda fun to turn into Keith Richards = never getting out of my pjs/no shower/no food/18 hour days...

JOIE DE JOUR: my Vox AC10 plus a Burns Double Six in G tuning for slide. Mmmmmmmmmm.

cb…where are you?

PENNSYLVANIA (travel day)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


RESOLVED: in 2007, i will...

1- have more parties like this one:

no time to watch the birdie...too focused on eating chicken paprikosh & dumplings

We Three Hueys...

HG shows The Dollimama a Bb barre chord on the now-famous Bebe Bleue

IOJ & CB cookin' the 'kosh...


2 - continue smoking (finally a resolution i can keep)

3 - finish my new CD

4 - do more podcasts (NPR?....mmmmm...would be nice)

5 - get my ass back to Europe

6 - only hang with women who are good for me vs. badnastyselfishungratefulusers.

7 - finish all projects & art gags started in '06.

8 - try to stay out of jail

9 - try to stay out of The Poor House

10- end my own version of Bleak House a/k/a getting a divorce

11- try not to make too many lists

NP: The Shadows/"Apache". purplE k'niF is learning new tunes, and i gotta get the drum part down.


"LITTLE DRAMA BOY" by Bianca Bob, with surf master Ted Lawrence (featuring the "Johnny Teagle Spy Chord"!)


PEEVE DE JOUR: I.O.J. leaves. Reality returns. R.B.W. is still 'gone ghost'...see 6 & 10 above.

JOIE DE JOUR: i can actually accomplish all of the above. really.

cb...where are you?