Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'll be seeing James Brown tonight at the Verizon. Sometimes it pays to wait to buy tix at the last minute. I got 2 tickets (myself and Christy Kern from the Aqua Velva are going) in row E, table 5. That's about ten rows of seats back from the stage, relatively centered (cabaret setup). I must have lucked into some last-minute release tix because these were already sold three days ago. Verizon is a notoriously nice but lame venue- we'll see if the Godfather of Soul can turn the tables.
I'm picking up a new Fender speaker cabinet for my bass (50 watt tube style cab- 12 low watt 12's) at Allen's speaker on 19th today. I paid a good but for this new repro cabinet, but it should be worth it. Allen's also has a 1965 blackface Fender Deluxe (no reverb) on sale for $700. Dale did a fresh speaker recone (Oxxford speaker original) and Hoss went through the amp to check the electronics. I'd say that's a great deal. I have no extra cash or I'd buy it myself.
Wow, there's a lot more stuff to talk about, but i'll save it for post James Brown- David

Friday, May 05, 2006

Great bands tonight at the Continental Club.
It's Cinco De Mayo and for once I'm actually really excited about being around the club all night. Actually, I might go to my parents' house to sleep, since they are in Italy and I need to be up at 6 AM to play the Sprint For Life M.D. Anderson Cancer Center fun run. I will definitely catch some of the show before I split, though. The music won't stop here until 1:45 at the earliest since it's the Cinco De Mayo party featuring Los Skarnales and Los Super Vatos. Los Super Vatos features David De la Garza from La Mafia (he;'s the best singing keyboardist around) and Bubba Hernandez on bass (formerly from Brave Combo). Artie Villasanchez plays guitar. He's the only guy that can play Santana licks and make me like them. he usually plays with Sancho and Norma Zenteno.
I just can't believe it's supposed to pour down rain tomorrow. I have two outdoor gigs. Rough.
Voice problems
Well, years of using my voice to its fullest extent has been taking its toll, and today I made an appointment with my voice doctor, Richard Stasney. The voice is not recovering like it used to and I'm feeling something on he left side. The resonance is also different. I'm afraid this may be the beginning of a new era for me musically. Actually, that would be fine; I can hear Dr Stasney telling me to limit my singing time and to reduce vocalization in general. I wouldn't totally be surprised if I have nodes or nodules and have to have some surgery- after all I've been singing for 20 years in bands and never stopped talking throughout.
If any of this is the case, I believe it will signal the end of the El Orbits, at least as we are known now. No more three hour shows, Monday nights or any of that stuff and lots more rotating vocal duties between band members. Thomas would need to step up to the plate and truly become the center vocalist. As for me, more drums and bass work outside of the band, and maybe even joining a band like The Alterego which plays pretty seldomly.
Wow, what an interesting concept. I guess I'll know more on May 15th when they give me the news. By the way, the reason I barely go to the voice doctor is that the diagnostic visit alone is $1000 and my insurance pretty much refuses to pay. It might be time to sell more of my dwindling stock holdings...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

By the way, I saw the Medicine Show at the Houston Roller Derby prom
They were remarkably better than the aforementioned show at Helios last year. Nota bene- some people were upset that The Meridian was nowhere near as intimate a setting for them as Helios, etc. I, though, they sounded better amplified and I was actually able to decipher what was going on. Plus, I believe they played originals that weren't just jams at Derby Prom (4/22). Better.
Thinking about fried chicken. there are so many good friend chicken places here in Houston. There's absolutely no excuse to go to the embarassment called KFC that once was a proud and quality franchise. Poor Col Sanders- i would love to save him from the eternal hell he must be going through watching his pride and joy become a total pile of crap.
Just a few names of great Fried Chicken in Houston:
Henderson's Chicken Shack, next to TSU, 3rd Ward
Frenchy's Fried Chicken, multiple locations, Creole style
Popeyes Fried Chicken- choose location and food carefully and it will pay of grandly
The Breakfast Klub, Travis at Alabama- you know what I'm talking about
There are way more, but I can promise you that any of these places will rock, especially anything near UH, TSU and downtown.
gas is $3 a gallon. I would like for it to go up to $3.50. I drive a truck that gets less than 10 MPG. My other one gets about 14. I barely drive now. Public transit rules. I will be working transportation costs into my gig prices, since that's essentially the only time I drive these days. Metrorail is the answer- citywide!

Monday, May 01, 2006

I got some more info on LouieDollars. he's been around S.A. for quite some time, relatively unknown out of the incredibly insulated S.A. hip hop scene, is on myspace, and has a real website as well with several members of his clique. Check out www.prhymemates.com -that's where he's at along with his DJ (DJ Teknik) and a few others.
I would like to go ahead and say that I truly believe that Jay Moeller, Gary Clark Jr. and a few of their crew will later become the face of "Austin's great roots music scene of the early century". That scene is basically made up of them and a few others. That is a scene which technically doesn't exict in name today, but I think people will refer back to it, much like the "great Austin rock band scene of the early 90's" which "included" my band Banana Blender Surprise, Little Sister, Sunflower, Soul Hat, The Ugly Americans, Ging'Breadmen, Rhythm Child, Pushmonkey, and a whole bunch more. That era ended with Vallejo and Breedlove in the late 90's. I would be willing to bet that the grand totaly number of cassettes and CDs these bands SOLD (not pressed or promoed) under these names (minus Soul Hat and not including Sister 7) is under 25,000.
Back to Jay M and Gary. These guys are so dam good it's sick. Magic occurs when they play. Relaxed, quality, high and medium energy virtuosity. I'm not sure they have any hit songs in tthem at all, as the originals seem a little weak, but they can groove Jimmy Reed better than anyone else under 55. Catch 'em at the Continental in Austin several times per week.
Word on he Houston Texans- Charley Casserly= bad PR. Time for thhis white guy in the office to go work for the league where his crap will fly. That being said, I think Williams will be a great player and Kubiak knows what he's doing.
Rockets= garbage. Yao Ming is awesome. McGrady is damaged, but still great. Alston and Head are good, not great. Van Gundy will get another year and then things may turn around. The real problem is Alexander. Crappy owner= crappy product. Nobody even considers paying to see this team with the prices at Toyota Center as they are. $20 to park? How did he get the city and county to sign off on restricting all on-street parking around the area during games so that fans are forced to park in the garage or in a pay lot? I hope Bill White installs some new "smart" parking meters all around there that charge, say, $6 by wireless CC transaction (this program is actually underway in Houston) to park IN FRONT of the stadium. CityDollars how about? To pay for the stadium!!!!
Astros= shaky, but better than I expected. Backe out for any period of time is bad. I think Lidge's arm may be atrting to go- I know mine would after only a few years. I think my voice feels like a pitcher's arm these days. Clemens? Hopefully, probably.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oh yeah, I got "Groover's Paradise" on 45 today in the mail.
It will be in the Big Top's jukebox by the end of the week. It's a great Doug Sahm track written about 70's Austin. Came out in '74 and was produced by Creedence drummer Doug Clifford. The band is called "Doug Sahm and the Tex Mex Trip". On the full length LP it's just "Doug Sahm" with "Tex Mex Trip" written within Kerry Awn's artwork. Classic KOKE FM era Austin. B side is "Girls Today Don't Like to Sleep Alone" a song that describes a phenomenon I realized post UT; If you had told me that in high school I would have never believed you. By the end of '96 I was already realizing that I PREFER to sleep alone.
James Brown, Tuesday May 9th, Verizon Wireless Theater

Finally James Brown is comiing to town on a night I can actually see him. I've never seen him live, but I heard a tape from a few years back of a live show in Austin and it was ridiculously good. No matter what, I'm sold on this guy. 74 years old and still bringing it every time. There will be a review here post-show. For the rest of you- I recommend you go before this guy is either dead or back in jail.- David

Thursday, April 20, 2006

LOUIEDOLLARS- San Antonio rapper. Anyone else have more info on him? Old school beats and old school flow.
SkyBlue72 is playing at Sherlocks for free Thursday (4/20). Sherlocks has a super sucky clientele, but great location, bartenders and staff. It's like all the 281 shmoes come in to 713 to party at their own little piece of 281 on West Gray at McDuffie. I might make it over there. Most likely on skates. Great band.
Judy's Washarama CD (burned but w/ artwork) is on the Poison Girl jukebox. Do yourself a favor and go play a few tracks off it. Mostly local CDs on that box. Hardly anyone plays it, of course, since the Eagles Greatest Hits isn't on there.
Open Mike Comedy Night at Ridyard's Tuesday night was amazing. I laughed out loud quite a bit, but it also has that kind of sad air to it that local bars have when everyone knows each other and they are there every week for the same ritual. I recommend it as it's an interesting time and you just might laugh too. Free every Tuesday at Rudyard's 2010 Waugh Dr.
The Aqua Velva will be playing the Art Car Ball (opening act) in the lot next door to the Meridian. Finally get to play in a band that's cool enough for that crowd. they're gonna love it.
Miss Leslie recorded a live CD downstiars tonight at the Continental. They sounded great. Sean Reefer is a really steady drummer when he's not stoned. I'm sure that CD will turn out great. It was a really smooth show with good crowd noise and applause throughout. Tacos a Go Go did free food. Excellent beef tacos. I definitely prefer Vietnamese to Mexican food, but Tacos is making a good case.
Houston Roller Derby prom is Saturday night at The Meridian. I'm going with The Prosecutor. She's a fun date and I like talking to her. Great skater as well. Prom will be fun- I'm getting a pimp suit at Fire Sale tomorrow with hat and shoes to match.
Going to bed- David

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tomorrow morning (thursday 4/20) I'll be down in front of the Federal Courthouse on Rusk St handing out El Orbits "Live in Houston" CDs and El Orbits "enron" stickers. I'll be wearing a dark suit and power tie. Should be fun. I'm going to give out about 90 CDs total and as many stickers as I have on me. Should have a funny story or two come out of this one.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Big Robert Smith passed away the other day. This is before we got the album we recorded almost a year ago out. That is perhaps what I feel the worst about. However, now the pressure to get it ASAP is off, so maybe it will come faster. Thus far in 2006 Keith Coit and Big Robert Smith have died. Two guys I was very close to. Neither too old- both very experienced. Now I feel like I have a better perspective on where I stand as far as life and ddeath goes. I am not afraid of death, and I now recognize that for the rest of my life I will be welcoming children of my friends and acquaintances into my life (with mostly disinterest) and saying goodbye to people who have had an impact on my life. I'll be 35 in July, and I think 35 might be the age at which things turn in that respect. As for me, I'm in better shape than I was 5 or 10 years ago, and although my voice has faded somewhat, my determination to stay independent of chains that would bind me into complacency or predictability in my life has increased.
Musically I'm torn between essentially letting The El Orbits fade into the sunset to an extent and forging new groud rapidly on the originals front and picking up the pieces of The El Orbits, streamlining and learning a ton of new material. It looks like we'll soon be a regular three piece, as Thomas, our new singer, is so busy with Sig;s Lagoon and his family that I can't see him learning new material on his own or really bringing anything else to the table except dynamite backup cvocals, which are nice, but extraneous to the long term success of this band. I wish I knew a good young enthusiastic piano player. It's too late to add anyone new into this deal anyway.
If I head the "parties and public service shows only" route for The El Orbits (I'll decide after the summer's out) then I'll convert Casbeers and Flipnotics San Antonio and Austin shows to original roots rock music, cut Mondays at the Contintal for good, and just play Sambuca with The El Orbits. that, and I might re-open some private party options (like a few weddings) for the El Orbits if they're booked far out and pay well. That would mean I would put together a specific lineup for each gig, unlike now where we essentially play it by ear. It would be a pain, but would pay some bills as original music will not cover it on its own.
Otherwise, I've just embarked on the largest electrical project to date for me. That's saying a lot since I did the whole Big Top Lounge and Tacos A Go Go from scratch with minimal help (didn't do A/C wiring or vent hood wiring in either). The upstairs of the club, where I and about 12 other people live, will have new wiring for most all appliances and common areas. Also, the remaining 1920's wiring, of which there is quite a bit in the front of the building, will be trimmed back to nearly zero. we have a new 200 Amp box that I will be wiring in conduit off of. This should increase capacity to where we won't be under strain in the heat of the summer or dead of winter with the heating and cooling loads. It's a labor intensive job to say the least. Lots of minor carpentry and pain in the butt work. I'm charging the club $10 an hour, but am also going to charge them for tools this time, since my tools are wearing out. That will probably push it to more like $12 per hour, which is what I'll charge for work after the upstairs is done.
Between music and electric I should be able to earn a living this year as long as I work basically all the time. I think if I approach it like I do exercise (at least some every single day) I can win this deal. That seems to be the real way to make a lifestyle change. Not that I don't work all the time anyway, but a better balance between music and manual labor might improve my finances, which are in kind of rough shape right now.
Mojo Nixon played the club last night. He was really good. Very fun show. I was sort of amazed at the people who cme out for it. Lots of Bon Ton Room era folks. Definitely a loyal crowd- mostly guys. Older- like me, but older and a little more worn. The band is not worn, although Pete's piano playing, as great as it is with Mojo, is so muchh better in the context of The El Orbits and Light Rock with chord changes that aren't all 1/4/5. Mojo is a ridiculously good guitar player and no one ever seems to mention it.
I'm going to print up some El Orbits flyers now and go running to put them up. Finish my night off with a Pabst or two at the Big Top. Hopefully I'll wake up fairly early and hit electric in the hallway.