Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Allen/Cohen/Pino Trio this Thursday in SF!

Really excited to play with Josh Allen and Alex Cohen this Thursday in San Francisco!

Thu., 6/27
Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St.
San Francisco 94103
Allen/Cohen/Pino Trio
8 PM
$8-15 sliding scale

Hope to see some heads there!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Hayes Valley Satanic Tambourine Jazz Trio Delight-Cafe Mercury, SF CA; 6/21/19

Quite a funny name, right? Especially since Ben, the only person in this group that isn't a huge Metal fan, coined it. The music is about as far from Metal as one could get, too. Straight ahead Jazz, in fact.
It was interesting walking around Hayes Valley before we played. That place is SO different from the way that I remember it. I only ever drive through these days, and not that often. To get a ground level view of what's going on in the neighborhood.....wow.
Did I mention Jazz? Hayes Valley Satanic Tambourine Jazz Trio Delight did indeed work with it, playing some tunes by Charlie Parker, Bobby Timmons, and Lee Morgan. We also played originals by pianist Ben Paul. It was really cool to share the sounds with Eli Pontecorvo on bass. We do a LOT of improvising together. Fun to try to pry those vibes into a more traditional matrix. I still feel like Jazz is a valid form, especially when Standards are being done, and it was really nice to have a go at a few of them. Kind of made me think about my attempts, many years ago, to do so. Those attempts were not that fruitful; it's really neat to have a try at them all of these years later. Thoughts of Herbie Lewis, Richie Goldberg, and a few of the people that I met at New College.
It seemed as though we played pretty well on a technical level too, not too loud, but definitely keeping things swinging. What a nice evening.

Below: my sweet little Jazz kit; Eli and Ben listen to a woman describing her Wobbly mother

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Playing Friday night in SF!

I will be playing in a trio with pianist Ben Paul and bassist Eli Pontecorvo this Friday evening in SF!

Mercury Cafe
201 Octavia St.
SF 94102
7 PM
Paul/Potecorvo/Pino Trio

We will be playing sets in between political speakers.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Early June 2019 Shows

It's hard to believe that we're getting to the halfway point of 2019! It seems as though it'd just gotten started, and here we are in mid-June already. Life is moving so quickly it seems. I guess it's a function of keeping busy. Anyway, last week was busy for sure. Here are some thoughts.

Cartoon Justice-Luna's Cafe, Sacramento; 6/10/19
Cartoon Justice had a different lineup than usual for this gig in the heat of Sacramento (100 degrees, I think), with reeds player Jaroba subbing for an out of town Kersti and new cellist Colleen Kelly T. A friendly vibe as usual at Luna's, with a lot of familiar faces to greet and chat with.
Shiva X-tet opened things up with some great improvised Jazz. A tough act to follow, but I feel as though Cartoon Justice held our own with our  vision of shamanic Noise Jazz, starting off with one long half hour piece that we'd scripted out in rehearsal. We got to some pretty thick places within the music I think. It can be tough for people to sit through a long arc like that, and some folks did wander away. That's OK, though, we were getting our vibes on. We concluded with a somewhat shorter piece that ended with some really fun blasts of sheer energy, especially from my cymbals. Everyone seemed to like it, as we got good feedback. A fine feeling! Cartoon Justice ain't for everyone, but, again, that's fine. We're following our own muse. Many thanks to Tony Passarell for the really nice back line drum kit. Sweet!

Below: Cartoon Justice trance out (photo by and courtesy of Russ Tucker, thanks, Russ!)

Surplus 1980-The Eagle Tavern, San Francisco; 6/13/19
The Eagle Tavern is a great place. They are clearly trying really hard to be a supportive spot for local Rock groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. The staff is incredibly friendly and sweet. That said, guys, please get a better sound system.
After loading in from the cool night air of a San Francisco summertime night, I talked with Moe! before our set; he was pretty worried about the sound from the stage. This worry seemed to be borne out. Surplus 1980 had a tough time up there, at least some of us. From my perspective, it was hard to not have a vocal monitor by the drums. Things got really rocky during Failure of Commitment (shades of 2016 sets!), but we managed to soldier through. I feel like we tightened up towards the end of our roughly 45 minute set, but Moe! was despondent afterward.  I dunno, sometimes a flawed, rocky set can be dramatically cool. For myself, I had fun trying to make the adjustments needed to get through it and try to sound OK. Not our best night from a technical level, but enjoyable on some other, nameless level. Perfection is sterile, and not all groups have to be so mannered.
Many thanks to Justin of Fancy Dad for letting me use his kit.

Below: Surplus 1980 sweating out a challenging live ordeal! (photo by and courtesy of Catsynth TV,
www.catsynth.com, thanks!)

Above: the first 15 minutes or so of Surplus 1980 at Eagle Tavern (video by Monkey King Video, thanks!)

So there you have it. A fun, challenging week of music, played in the heat of Sacramento and the coolness of summertime SF.
Weather extremes, emotional extremes, you have to be able to take them both in stride, especially in the weird world of independent music production.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Two shows next week!

Early Summer starts off right with Cartoon Justice and Surplus 1980.....

Mon., 6/10
Luna's Cafe
1414 16th St.
Sacramento 95814
Shiva X-Tet
Cartoon Justice
7:30 PM

Thu., 6/13
The Eagle Tavern
398 12th St.
San Francisco 94103
Fancy Dad
Surplus 1980
Inner Ear Brigade
9:00 PM

Friday, May 24, 2019

Crow Crash Radio-Luna's Cafe, Sacramento CA; 5/20/19

As is usually the case, it was after a leisurely drive along I-80 East that I found myself in Sacramento a bit early for a Nebraska Mondays gig at Luna's Cafe. I'm still a bit vexed at the California capitol city's weird parking regulations, but oh well, not much I can do about that except for sit in my car for a while and look out for parking attendants.
Despite having been playing together for about eight years (seven with me), Crow Crash Radio's set in Sacramento marked the farthest afield that we've gone so far. I guess it's in keeping with the slow growth model that we seem to espouse. itlookslikeablackhole's drummer Todd graciously let me use his really nice drum kit for a back line. Some of the usual music lovers showed up, which was very gratifying. Crow Crash played about seven songs for what felt like a somewhat short set. Still, we managed to get our Psych on, stretching out for some extensions. We also played a few songs a bit more shortly and to the point, which was interesting. Things felt good to me, even though at one point it seemed as though I was playing a different drum beat than the song we were doing! All told, a fun, low key night of music at a favorite venue.

Below: Crow Crash Radio rockin' Luna's Cafe (photo by and courtesy of Russ Tucker, thanks, Russ!)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Crow Crash Radio this Monday evening in Sacramento!

Crow Crash Radio will head up to Luna's Cafe in Sacramento this Monday.

Mon., 5/20/19
Nebraska Mondays at Luna's Cafe
1414 16th St.
Sacramento 95814
7:30 PM
Crow Crash Radio

Hopefully it won't be too hot out there yet! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New digital release from Brandon Evans and me!

Check it!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Reflections on early May 2019 shows

The last couple of shows were great, what more can I say? Some reflections....

Surplus 1980-The Uptown Nightclub, Oakland; 5/9/19
As requested, I got to the Uptown really early. It was definitely a "hurry up and wait" type situation, as Surplus 1980 got no soundcheck. So, I had some time to walk around the Broadway/Telegraph area of downtown Oakland. It's changing so much. The Oakland that I knew, 2004-13, is changed forever. That's life, though, obviously.
Surplus 1980 got to play a nice 45 minute set on Uptown's great stage. How nice to get a good vocal monitor mix for once! It seemed to me that we played really well, maybe a few sour notes and slightly missed cues here and there, but on the whole, solid. Cool to have a pretty sizable audience to play for as well.
I know that video footage was taken, so hopefully I'll be able to post it soon.
Free Salamander Exhibit, what a great, tight band. Yowza!

Below: Moe! and Surplus 1980 hitting at the Uptown

The Percussion Pit-KFJC, 5/13/19
One thing that I do know: percussion players show up on time and work together. As I arrived at KFJC on the beautiful Foothill College campus, pretty much everyone was doing the same. Tatsuya Nakatani, Karen Stackpole, Jordan Glenn, Patrick Telesfore Jr., and myself all managed to get our various percussion rigs set up with a minimum of fuss and great flexibility within the Pit. Such a humbling experience to share a space with some of the best drummers that I can think of! We proceeded to do one whole group piece which was followed by smaller groupings, solo sets, and interviews. KFJC host Max Level was nice enough to allow me to plug my upcoming shows along with various recordings, along with a brief solo percussion set. The latter felt really nice: I was able to use the small set up that I had (waterphone, snare drum, slide whistle, box of rocks) to make what felt like a coherent statement. Tough to do after Tatsuya's incredible statement! I was happy to have tried, though. As usual, KFJC's staff were incredible. What a solid group of people. Such a grand afternoon spent among people that I admire.

Below: my small rig; setting up with Jordan (photo by Karen Stackpole), the crack KFJC staff

Coming up, a new digital release and Crow Crash Radio in Sacramento!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Upcoming shows!

Got some cool ones coming up!

Thu., 5/9/19
The Uptown
1928 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland 94612
Free Salamander Exhibit
Surplus 1980
8 PM
21 and over

Mon., 5/13/19
The Percussion Pit: unscripted percussion adventures. Live sets by percussion artists in the KFJC Pit, collaborations, improvisations, relevant recordings, conversations with the artists, and who knows what else will develop. Join us as we listen to the sounds of objects being tapped, rubbed, bowed, shaken, pounded. Scheduled to appear: Tatsuya Nakatani, Jordan Glenn, Karen Stackpole, Mark Pino, Jennifer Wilsey, Patrick Talesfore Jr.
2-6 PM Pacific Time

OK, I have to go and practice now.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Late April 2019 Shows Roundup!

I am sitting at this keyboard, battling a nasty cold. In terms of gig schedule, I guess that it's good timing as I have nothing on the calendar for a few weeks. It's almost as if my body knew that. Don't worry as you read this, probably ain't contagious anymore, just sneezing all over my keyboard.

Surplus 1980-The Hole, Oakland CA; 4/19/19
This show was supposed to happen at the Dildo Factory, but due to some issues with the landlord there, it was moved over to The Hole. Literally located in a garage in West Oakland, The Hole is functioning as a very d.i.y. venue for local and touring bands. Pretty cool space, too, with a good back line drum set, sweet yard in the back, and a general lack of pomp. It's a down to earth place that sells La Croix and joints! Very cool. Surplus 1980 played first on a three band bill. Our set went pretty well as I recall, maybe a few clams here and there. I was pretty jittery, and bummed that there were no vocal monitors, but The Hole just isn't that kind of place, so that's to be accepted. Our energy seemed good. Watching the other bands, Pieces and Spring Breeding, was really fun. Awesome youthful energy and creativity from both. A fun night in Oakland!

Below: nifty little kit at The Hole; Surplus 1980 setting up d.i.y. style

Surplus 1980-King Cong Brewery, Sacramento CA; 4/20/19
It had been almost four years since Surplus 1980 had played in Sacramento before last Saturday. Odd, really. It seems as if we'd have had an easier time getting a least one show there in that space of time.
When we got to King Cong, I was a bit disconcerted to see that the bands play outside. That was unexpected. Outside shows can be tough for hearing the stage mix. Gentleman Surfer played first, and as usual were incredible. Jon Bafus: it's like watching 1974 Bill Bruford in action. What a great drummer. Surplus hit next. Moe! was able to use Jon's kit for a Pigeon Obstacle Course start, very rare these days as his tendonitis is still there. From there we played about five more songs. Some renditions were tight, others were pretty sloppy at times. I could not hear any of the vocals and none of the guitars, either. Again, no monitors for the stage. It seems like King Cong could afford such additions to their stage set up. Hopefully, they'll do that eventually. Not our best set, but we got some applause and friendly feedback.

Below: Surplus hitting at King Cong Brewery (photo by and courtesy of Gabriel Sanford, thanks Gabriel!)

M-KASM Ensemble-Octopus Literary Salon, Oakland CA; 4/23/19
Max Nordile reached out to me in February to see if I'd like to be part of one of his Music For People bills at the Octopus Literary Salon. Seeing as that M-KAT Ensemble had not played out in a while, I figured that it was a good opportunity for us. Thomas could not join us for the evening, so I asked Shawn Miller to fill in. Happily, he obliged us. I was happy to use my "little kit". It worked really well within the small space of Octopus, too. M-KASM (changed for lack of Thomas), were scheduled to play last, but we ended up playing second, for a short set of only 22 minutes roughly. For a late starting, four band bill on a Tuesday night, this seemed fine. Shawn started us off really quickly, and we proceeded to play what felt like a really good, interactive set of improvised music. I certainly felt connected to everyone. It felt like a wonderful meditation to me. What a great way to end this short run of shows!

Below: the "little kit" on the floor of the Octopus Literary Salon; Shawn and Andrew setting up
Below: audio from 4/23 at Archive.org

Alright, I'm off to nurse my sore throat and runny nose some more. Surplus 1980 will be playing a really neat show in early May, and Crow Crash Radio will return in mid May! Cough, cough, cough....

Sunday, April 21, 2019

M-KASM Ensemble plays this Tuesday in Oakland!

M-KAT Ensemble will be M-KASM Ensemble this Tuesday evening in Oakland! Thomas can't join us, so we'll have Shawn Miller filling in for him on bass.

Tue., 4/23/19
Octopus Literary Salon
2101 Webster St.
Oakland 94612
Max Nordile
La Macacoa
Cruel Work
M-KASM Ensemble
All ages

Looks like a good bill and I'm happy to be part of it! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Two Surplus 1980 shows this weekend!

Surplus 1980 is getting a bit busier....

Fri., 4/19/19
The Hole
text 925-329-8874 for address
Surplus 1980
Spring Breeding

Sat., 4/20/19
King Cong Brewing Co.
1709 Del Paso Blvd.
Sacramento 95815
Surplus 1980
Gentleman Surfer

New Surplus 1980 7" records will be available at both of these shows!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Dead City Shaman-UB Radio Salon #587, Alameda CA; 4/14/19

Yesterday evening's proceedings at Chakra Chimp Research Kitchens was sort of a do-over for Dead City Shaman. Heavy rains back in January had made it impossible for Jack Hertz to get over the Bay Bridge. No such problems for UB Radio Salon #587; it was a stone beautiful day all around the Bay. Despite the sunny weather, I was feeling pretty glum, wrestling with some of the typical dark emotions that can beset a person involved in creative endeavors. Not to get too specific, but things have seemed a tad bit pointless lately. Hopefully, that will pass.
As for the Dead City Shaman's set with Members of Big City Orchestra, things went really nicely. Jack, Nina, Das, and me all utilized relatively small rigs, which was conducive to cool interactions. We got into some satisfying sonic territories throughout our one and half hours of playing. Especially cool for me was a passage that featured sampled Tibetan chanting paired with metallic percussion and sizzling synth tones. Seriously goose bump invoking. I also had a great time playing some of Das and Nina's personal percussive gear. Going to Chakra Chimp is like being a kid in a candy store for a percussion player. Such fun!
All in all, a great, happy, and much needed mood lifting time was had by this half of Dead City Shaman. Hopefully Jack, Nina, and Das enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks to them!

Below: some minimal gear

Above: Das's minimal rig sounded dope
Below: audio at Archive.org!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Dead City Shaman on UB Radio this Sunday!

Jack Hertz and I will be joining forces with Das and Nina at Chakra Chimp Research Kitchens this Sunday, 4/14 for a Dead City Shaman set!
5 PM Pacific Time!
Listen here:

I'm still trying to decide what/how to play, but it will be fun!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Cartoon Justice SoCal Tour 2019

March of 2019 was certainly a busy month for Cartoon Justice. First a bunch of shows with Elliott Levin, and next a quick trip down to Los Angeles and Joshua Tree in SoCal for three more. A quick rundown.....

Cartoon Justice-Cafe Nela, Los Angeles CA; 3/21/19
Thankfully, we didn't have to rush down to Los Angeles for this show. In fact, we left the SF Bay Area a day early, thus having a ton of extra time to get our heads right for this gig. After a fun several hours of visiting Amoeba Records downtown and Griffith Park, we headed over to Cafe Nela in pretty relaxed moods. Now, our set, however, was anything but. Inspired by emotions still somewhat raw from our very tense gig at Muchmore's in Brooklyn last year, we really let it all fly out. A version of Spirit Aligned Truth morphed into some pretty crazed spaces. Mika and Eli were especially blasted on this set. Crazy, fun and very much laid INTO. I had a great time playing my "Acid Jazz" kit, too.   The other acts on this bill were equally weird and cool. Cafe Nela is a great, funky place. Go there when you're next in Los Angeles.

Below: Small kit with big sounds; 3/4 of Cartoon Justice at Griffith Park Observatory
Below: video! By and courtesy of Tommy Blatnik, thanks Tommy!

Above: audio only, second half of set at Cafe Nela.

Cartoon Justice-Furstwurld, Joshua Tree CA; 3/22/19
Cartoon Justice rolled into Furstwurld and its very funky desert art environment pretty early on the evening of 3/22. I was wondering if anyone would be at this show, as it's pretty well out of Joshua Tree proper. Thankfully, some folks showed up for it. After a cool set from Emily Hay, Lucio Menegon, and Danny Frankel, we managed to get our set going, even with some technical difficulties. I was having trouble hearing Mika and Kersti, as the stage was set up so that Eli and I were basically "in another room". Even so, we managed to pull together a pretty manic set. It seemed as though we cleared the room, but apparently Eli got some good feedback from people. I just recall digging in and going for broke with my drums, in tandem with Eli. The end of the evening featured a groovy collaborative Lingua Incognita set from all of the evening's players. That was really cool!

Below: Eli awaits the onslaught

Cartoon Justice-The Palms Restaurant, Twentynine Palms CA; 3/23/19
Man, I thought Furstwurld was out of the way, but damn The Palms is out in the middle nowhere! Totally surrounded by desert scrub! Its interior is wicked cool though, full of strange acidic Funk Art and dusty ambiance. A really neat place for sure. Cartoon Justice hooked up with Emily Hay for this one. She did a bit of a short set with Eli on bass and me on drums. This proved to be pretty satisfying, albeit somewhat truncated. Cartoon followed, and we played two sets of very free and loose grooves. Spirit Aligned Truth emerged again, along with Elegy de Amazonia. We got all over the map, playing soft, loud, and all points in-between. After the previous two evenings' playing, I felt suitably amped up and inspired. Not a ton of people there, but we did get some folks to watch. After our sets, I overheard one guy saying that our music "goes nowhere", and yeah, I can dig that. I guess it's about being in the moment. Improvised music is certainly not for all people. I wasn't mad at the guy. It seemed pretty "somewhere" to me, but maybe I'm just biased.

Below: Cartoon Justice at Joshua Tree National Park

Heading back up to Northern California, I left Joshua Tree way before sunrise on Sunday. The 210 freeway is a lot easier before 7 AM, that's for sure. I got over the Grapevine by 8:30 and found myself back in Richmond in the early afternoon, satisfied with another trip with the Cartoon Justice crew.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cartoon Justice Southern California Tour Dates!

Cartoon Justice will be heading to Southern California to play some shows!

Thu., 3/21/19
Cafe Nela
1906 Cypress Ave.
Los Angeles 90065
8:30 PM
Cartoon Justice
also on the bill: Joe Baiza/John Wynne Duo, Hookah, Sonic Utopia

Fri., 3/22/19
8528 Desert Shadows Rd.
Joshua Tree 92252
8 PM
Cartoon Justice
also on the bill: Emily Hay/Luciano Menegon/Danny Frankel Trio

Sat., 3/23/19
The Palms Restaurant
83131 Amboy Rd.
Twentynine Palms 92277
7 PM
Cartoon Justice with Emily Hay

Looks like a fun weekend ahead!

CDP video up at Youtube!

Thanks, Outsound!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Cartoon Justice with Elliott Levin video up at Youtube!

Many thanks to Ann O'Rourke for coming to the show and taking this footage!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

New Olduvai March Shows Roundup!

I'll just cut to the chase and say, "...damn, what a great time I had playing with Elliott Levin's New Olduvai..."
The shows, respectively at Luggage Store in S.F., Backroom in Berkeley, Studio Grand in Oakland, Peacock Lounge in S.F., and Bird & Beckett Books and Records in S.F., were all incredibly fulfilling on aesthetic and spiritual levels. It seems safe to say that the members of Cartoon Justice put our all into them; we played hard and intensely. I'm feeling pretty well DRAINED after these shows, but in the best kind of way. It was great to collaborate with Elliott. He's most definitely the kind of poet and player that will have a musician elevating their musical game. What a gas it was to get to go toe to toe with him as he played.
It was also pretty incredible to get to share a stage with cellist Kash Killion for a few nights at Peacock Lounge and Bird & Beckett. He's been a musical hero of mine since I saw him play at Yoshi's in 1994. That was a mind blowing set, and I still think about it a lot. To get to share sound with the man.....incredible.
On account of fatigue, I'm keeping this post really short, but suffice it to say that I'm feeling very lucky and musically fulfilled from New Olduvai's March 2019 SF Bay Area run of shows. These experiences will be cherished, these memories relished.
Big ups to those with whom we shared bills, equipment, and space.
Many thanks to Elliott Levin, Kash Killion, and the members of Cartoon Justice!