Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ovipositor-Live at KDVS O:RMF 2007

This was the penultimate Ovipositor show with Laurin Askew on bass (his last occurred at the Knockout in S.F., but it was not so good, nor that well-documented).
KDVS is a fantastic radio station, operating at University of California, Davis. They have a true free-form operation. They were also very friendly towards Ovipositor. Along with letting us participate in their Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom 2007 event, they let us play a live in-studio session in 2005 and played our CDs somewhat regularly.
Ovipositor played early on the bill, but we all seemed to have a great time, and played very well, despite the heat of the day. It was probably our best show with Laurin.
 Dig on Colin's particularly inspired solo here:

My best memory from this show is one of watching a hipster college student/music fan dancing during Colin's solo on While I Wasn't Looking.  It was a fun day.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lithium Milkshake-First Demo Tape

Lithium Milkshake was born out of a late night conversation between Justin Martin and I, which took place on Mowry Ave. in Fremont, CA, in the spring of 1990.  I was out on a late night bike ride, and saw Justin, with his characteristic long-armed amble, heading east toward Fremont's main drag, imaginatively named Fremont Blvd. I recognized him from Ohlone College, and knew that he was locally renowned as a gifted musician. I pulled over and introduced myself, and we spent a few hours talking about bands we liked, bands we didn't like, and the possibility of starting a band of our own.
Bands that approached their music making from an angle of Funk-Rock were all the rage at the time, but Justin and I wanted a lot more Rock and a hell of a lot less Funk in our sound. The first few bass players that we jammed with could not have gelled less with our concept, but thankfully we stumbled upon Hans Stahl, who had moved to the SF Bay Area from the Sacramento area. He posted an ad at a local music supply store; within one jam we knew that we'd found someone who had his own ideas about his music and his approach within it.  I suspect that Hans had some reservations at first, but he kept coming back as we scheduled practices and worked out tunes.
Within a year we had written several tunes, and were starting to play out. I have to give credit to Justin for that. He worked really hard to promote the band, get us on good bills, and generally push the group forward. With hindsight, we probably could have done a lot more. Bands from Berkeley, Oakland, and S.F. were tapping into the well-established touring/recording circuits built up by the two or three generations' musicians that had preceded us. I guess we held our suburban-ness as a kind of badge of honor, and never really got the concept of networking. This willful backwardness left us to fend for ourselves in most matters, and Justin, at that point, shouldered the load. I wish I could apologize to him now, for my selfishness as regards those dynamics within the process.
All that said, Lithium Milkshake did play on some pretty exciting bills:

Above: Lithium Milkshake choice gigs. Plaid Retina and Mudwimin were particularly amazing.
Above: Our place in Punk History-2/7/92 at Gilman St., w/ Neurosis.
Below: Not quite a tour itinerary, but, hey, it beats hanging around in Fremont.
The demos here were recorded by a guy named Wick, at his parents' house in Fremont, right next to the lovely Lake Elizabeth. I'm still embarrassed by some of my drumming gaffs, but what the hell.

My first stint in Lithium Milkshake ended in 1993. I was replaced by Tony Fag, an amazing drummer who could play a lot more simply than me. I think that the management team which had taken over the band at that point realized that someone with a bit more talent for the simple approach was needed, as the goal had become "get signed or bust". I was less enthusiastic about the idea, and also realized that I wouldn't have a chance in those waters. It was an easy decision to just move on, but it stalled my music making for many years to come, at least in terms of Rock band drumming.
Below: great flyer art by Hans Stahl. What a unique and talented guy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Barney Cauldron on TAV Strings Project

Scott Jones, guitar player of Barney Cauldron, set this up last year. He submitted several recordings done by BC, which were then posted every couple of weeks. TAV seems like a cool project.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sex is a Witch

This band was formed in a flash and went up in smoke, the whole thing lasting about eight months, from late 1996 until July of 1997.
Sex is a Witch started at Lennon Studios in S.F., where singer/guitarist Meri St. Mary was working the front desk. Meri had fronted a very popular band called Housecoat Project, and after several years off to raise her son and deal with some personal issues, was looking to start a new band.
Guitarist Mia D'Bruzzi had played in Frightwig and Mudwimmin, two amazing examples of S.F. Punk. Mia, an awesome guitar player (Strat w/ a Twin!) was looking for a new project.
Rachel Thoele, on bass, had also played in Mudwimmin. She had just left a popular band called Van Gogh's Daughter, and was looking for a new band as well.
As for me, despite being very sad about the recent death of Justin Martin and the ultimate end of Lithium Milkshake, I wanted to hit the ground running and get out playing as quickly as possible.
 Our first gig was New Year's Eve, 1996, at Lennon Studios Sound Stage, Dore alley in SOMA. This gig was a real victory for the band, and for me personally. For Meri, it was a kind of re-introduction to many of her friends and fans. I was satisfied to be playing a good gig, within a tight band, inside of the same building in which my pal Justin had passed away.
Several fun shows followed, notably at Kommotion, Stinky's Peep Show at the CW Saloon, and on Market St. for the (then) annual Summer Solstice "Making Waves" Fest. I also put together a show that featured my other band, Ahab, along with Sex is a Witch, at New College of California. This show was a benefit/fund raiser for Altaneze Taylor's Bright Moments Jazz Lover's Club. Ms. Taylor was at that time allowing me to try and start a program to teach kids in the Bay View/Hunter's Point area of S.F. the fundamentals of trap kit drumming. The objective was to raise enough cash to buy a small drum kit for the class.
Above: press release for benefit show at New College. I'm not sure that anyone who received one of these bothered to show up, least of all the staff at said college.
Above: flyer for benefit show at New College. Collage and lettering by me.

Despite the initial success, Sex is a Witch was fraught with inter-personal tension, much of it seeming to be baggage from old relationships between some of the members of the band. Practices quickly devolved into arguments. I just wanted to play, and as such had little patience for the airing of grievances. In early summer of 1997, I told the band, via phone calls to each member, that I would quit. Our last show was at the Bottom of the Hill, opening for Oxbow. The recordings here are from that show.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More live Barney Cauldron pics

I just can't let my wife's great work go to waste. I also like how we look!
The witty and talented Mr. Scarp Home. A versatile musician, and a great guy.
Dylan prepares to blow...
Scott smiles and let's us know he's feeling good about it...
Dan focuses on grooving with it. Yeah, I wear Vans, what about it? 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Barney Cauldron live in Oakland, 8/3/10

This show was WEIRD. I guess it did not help that there were tons of little kids running around and jumping on my drums as I was trying to set up. Or having to interact with people that I've known to be kind of suspect. Those factors, and sad recent developments in my life, made it tough for me to focus and really play the BC music.
Live and learn, right?
Thanks to Melissa for coming out, taking great pics, and getting a headache. Oy!