Thursday, July 31, 2008


That's right: Regardless of what you might have heard from the liberal controlled media, tonight's show at Neumo's (featuring us, Boat, and the enigmatic next-big-thing The Mt St. Helens Vietnam Band) is in fact open to any age imaginable. If you are 2000 years old, you can come to this show. Did you know that the drummer of The MSHVB is 13 years old, and that their CD comes in a handmade felt pocket? Fantastic! I'll show YOU a handmade felt pocket. what? huh?

Also, in keeping with all the radical change that the world's been going through in the last 3 hours, our set list tonight is going to be (as John Curley says), Just a little bit different. If you're one of those people who's always saying to your therapist, "Why doesn't "Awesome" ever play [insert obscure song title] at their live shows?", then allow us to save you the trip to the couch this week. While I can't give away exactly what the set list will be (on the advice of our legal counsel), I can tell you that at least one of these three songs songs songs will be in the set.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Recent Kunjabunjas

1. How Come Flippers Don’t Smile
2. If You Didn’t Want To Then Tell Me
3. Spaghetti Western Like Me
4. Alpacas Got Them Jewels
5. This Isn’t My First Time Masturbating
6. Friends Blank Their Friends
7. The Brackish Water
8. Pigs Shred Diligently
9. Frankly There’s Lots Of Pollution
10. Let’s Cluster Our Minds
11. Flared Tubes Blared Out
12. July Has 32 Elephants
13. Plowing Dowling Inside The Hut
14. She’s Our New Maid Buddy Thanks
15. Gazelle Cant Touch Me
16. The Freshest Calculators For My Fat Fingers
17. Pardon Me Miss I Thought Those Weren’t Real
18. Blood Blood Blood Here’s More
19. Finally We Got Something Inner Finally
20. Before The Rabbits Leapt
21. Chowder Tastes Triangular And Why Care
22. Mister Jones Yesterday Vomited
23. Friends Carry
24. Flush The Bludgeoning Catamaran Toad Yes
25. Tom Is Happy When He Blisses Out of His Mind
26. Sparkling Jelly Adheres
27. Farting In Reverse Doesn’t Happen
28. Look Out And Then He Died
29. Spanish Ponies Ride Spanish
30. Luminous Tooth Decay
31. Wonder Slurp Has Blueness
32. Why Does Courtney Like It
33. Does Anybody Re-use Cheese?
34. Spinning Wildly Without Pencils
35. Trying To Ludicrous Or Wanting Disciplinary Pigeons
36. Hey Belly But No That’s Okay

Courtesy of

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Sing the Spam Electric

Here's a quickly made kunjabunja using that spam for lyrics.

I'm sorry. A commenter dared me.

Summertime Spamoetry

I wish all spam was as oddly intoxicating as the quasi-Joycean prose these bots create:

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Yes I Can!

I walked into the courthouse to dispute another traffic ticket. I just feel like stop signs are suggestions. I remember walking through the far-left revolving door and into the climate-controlled lobby. It was over 90 outside, and incredibly muggy, thanks to monsoon season. Inside was 22 degrees cooler and cucumber-crisp. I took off my shoes for the security screen and felt the cold, slick marble floor reaching up through my toes. Outside horns blared. When I looked up after lacing up my right shoe, and I could see Valley National Bank across the street, it was on fire. Then a car exploded. Then the courthouse windows shattered and the hot air came rushing in. It seemed even hotter than 90. In fact, it was. By the time I stood up I was dead. The last thing I remember was reaching for the traffic ticket and watching it, and my hand, catch fire.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008


This weekend, Basil and I were both part of 14/48 (otherwise known as The World's Quickest Theater Festival.) This year, the festival took place at the Center House Theater. (Coincidentally on the same weekend as the Bite of Seattle, otherwise known as The Let's See How Much Garbage We Can Eat and Leave a Big Mess Festival). I played in the band, and Basil co-directed with his wife Gillian, and their daughter, Nora. As usual, some plays were better than others, but I had a great time playing with Troy Lund, Brendan Hogan, Tina La Plant, and Amanda Lee Williams in the band. We even wrote a song called "Surf Bacon"!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Siamo stati veduti in Italia!


Quello è tutto. (Inoltre, grazie, Ambrati [inoltre Babelfish]!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

RIP: Bruce Conner (1933-2008)

A San Francisco artist who could not be tied down to any one medium, Bruce Conner made works in painting, sculpture, pencil, inkblot, photography, fake campaign ads, and - most popularly - experimental films. His pieces were seemingly forged from dreams and unafraid to be humorous or irreverent.

Conner began in the 1950s by making sculptures called assemblages crafted from junk and debris, moving toward films similarly spliced together from black and white stock footage. The re-arrangement of materials and images resulted in innovative works overflowing with sexual, satirical, and downright unclassifiable qualities. He found good company in California artists such as Michael McClure, Jay DeFeo, and Dennis Hopper.

His work never depended on the current fashion of art, and for that, his obscure cult status endures. Perhaps that is most appropriate, as he saw commercial success as a means of selling himself out. Conner's creativity blazed trails for younger generations of surreal, multifaceted artwork. We owe him a toast. All hail Bruce Conner.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gods: A Review

Yesterday, after spending a few hours floating in the lake on our French Pocket Convertible Island, Jen and I walked down to Benaroya Hall to pray, witness, and testify as to the presence of two gods. BANJO gods, to be specific. I’m speaking of course, of Bela Fleck and Earl Scruggs. Yes, THAT Earl Scruggs. THE Earl Scruggs. And no, he’s not dead yet. (He turned 84 this year.)

Bela Fleck (hereafter, “BF”) was playing with a group called the Sparrow Quartet, which consisted of a cello, a violin, and two banjos (BF and Abigail Washburn, who was also the singer). The program listed it as a “unique East-meets-West blend of chamber music, bluegrass, American roots, and Chinese folk music.” It’s one of those descriptions that’s perfectly accurate but doesn’t give you any idea what to expect if you haven’t already heard it. Pushing that hard on genre boundaries not only makes it hard to figure out where look for it in the music store, but it makes it a little hard for my ear to know what to do with it. In a genre you’re familiar with, you get little moments of pleasure when a tune occasionally deviates from what your ear expects. A normal bluegrass tune playing in G major might jump to an E major chord in a bridge, or a solo might stress a bent Bb note instead of the B you’d expect in a G major chord. But when your ear doesn’t have any clue what to expect, there’s no sense of deviation from the norm. The Sparrow Quartet would play in blended keys – part pentatonic and part major, for example – or possibly in no key at all. And there were handsome harmonies, sung or played, and even when you knew what they were (“ah, there’s a nice 5th they’re singing!”) your ear often couldn’t place them in their proper context because, well, there was none. But there was plenty of beauty in this music. It felt a little like I was a time traveler, going to the future, visiting the Old South, now owned by our Chinese Overlords, listening to music both alien and somehow linked to a past I dimly recognize. Would I buy a CD? Not sure. Maybe just to get ideas of different things to do with a banjo. You can listen to some of this music on Abigail Washburn’s website (she seems to be the band’s ringleader).

I will say this: It is always fucking amazing to watch Bela Fleck at work. It’s simultaneously inspiring and humbling. I go back and forth between thinking, “I wanna go home and play the banjo right now! And every day for 5 hours a day! I love the banjo!” and “Man, I’ll never be any good. I should give up now.” Mostly it’s the former. I want to buy the tablature for every piece he’s ever written and learn it. Of course, skill at the banjo doesn’t necessarily mean I like what he’s playing. Some of it is great and other stuff doesn’t really engage me. But for someone who is constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done on the banjo, he earns my utmost respect. He’s never been afraid to try crazy stuff, from electric banjo jazz-pop to classical music to middle and far-east music. And he recently made a movie (or rather, a documentary was made of him) called Throw Down Your Heart (subtitle: Bela Fleck brings the banjo back to Africa), and that sounds really interesting too. Way to go Bela for constantly taking risks and pushing the envelope, even when you go places I can’t really follow.

Next was Earl Scruggs and 6 other musicians -- two of which are his sons Randy and Gary, and one of which was a fantastic dolbro player named Jennifer Merideth (who was strangely set apart from the others and not really lit). Earl looks old. He’s stooped over and slightly hunchbacked. He walks like he’s got a colostomy bag under his jacket. He barely speaks. When he does, he’s too far from the mic and doesn’t wait for the crowd to stop cheering, so he’s never heard. The one time he was heard, his son Gary (who does almost all the talking) was saying “This song was originally written in the late 18th century…” (I think he meant late 1800’s), and ol’ Bilbo Banjo jumped in to say “I wrote it!” Everyone laughed and cheered. Earl’s expression was like Carlotta Philpott’s face when she’s trying to listen to the TV with her hearing aid turned down. I don’t think he was trying to make a joke. But nobody cared about any of that. We were there to be in the presence of greatness, to say that we were there and saw him, a god in the flesh. Everything he did got a tsunami of applause from the audience, making it impossible to hear anything.

The thing is, he didn’t do much. I mean, yes, he is still an amazing banjo player. He fucking INVENTED bluegrass banjo as we know it. Hall of fame, lifetime achievement awards, grammys, bla bla bla. Bela owes him, I owe him, every banjo player owes a debt to Earl Scruggs for pioneering the 3-finger style (Scruggs-style) banjo picking. (I myself learned almost exclusively from the Earl Scruggs banjo book when I was taking lessons back in high school.) And that style, the style he pioneered in the mid 1940’s, is exactly what he’s still doing now. No deviation, no exploration. He sounds exactly the way he did back then. Even his solos were note for note what they are in my old banjo book. He played old favorites like Sally Goodwin, Foggy Mountain Special, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, and even the Ballad of Jed Clampet (the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies). There were almost no surprises. I had this same feeling when I finally saw Citizen Kane, and there’s all these clichéd moments (like the newspaper that spins toward the camera with a shocking headline), and then I had to remind myself that this movie INVENTED those things that are now clichéd. Still, it was really great to get to see him and to hear him. But it was such a stark contrast to see Bela Fleck playing this weird-ass music and constantly pushing boundaries and then see Earl Scruggs doing exactly what he did, note for note, 50 years ago. (The one exception was that they did a countrified version of Lady Madonna. The singing was pretty lame, but it was definitely entertaining. I wish I could find tab for THAT!)

During the Sparrow Quartet set, Abigail Washburn mentioned that this was the first time that Bela had ever shared a bill with Earl Scruggs. Bela clarified: “And I’ll be watching the show from out there, with all of you.” So it was a special treat when Earl and the boys brought BF out for their encore. They played an old tune, Reuben, and Earl pushed Bela up to do some solos, which were fantastic. Earl watched from over his shoulder with that Carlotta hearing-aid look. Then Bela and Bilbo stepped up to the mic and Bela played right along with him, note for note, both doing the traditional Scruggs solo that so many banjo players learned.

Like everyone else, I was glad I got to see it, to pay homage to gods old and new.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day.

Let's celebrate by watching this:

John Lennon said the craziest things!

Another factoid: in 2001, my housemates and I (known at the time as the Young Knights of Aqualung) threw a toast party to celebrate Bastille Day. It was just like a key party except that instead of going home with each other's wives, folks ate lots of toast. And then went home with each other's toasters.

Confidential to Montana (who will see this) and Dusty (who won't): happy birthday, bastille-babies! I wish I knew which one of you was older.

Cartoon Diary #2

factoid: my dad had this pad of cartoon stationary made for me when I was about 8. I just found it again a couple of years ago.

Friday, July 11, 2008

saturday afternoon

Yo, Kirk... whatcha doin' tomorrow?   Wanna hang out?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

David's Cartoon Diary

3rd in a series of posts about "A" bandmembers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Butter Report

INTERVIEWER: Welcome back. We were asking Bob Whitler what it's like to be in the Japanese Grunge Funk band, Ausuum--

BOB: No, it's ;Ausuum;. There are semi-colons around the name.

INT: I see, sorry. Bob, what do you feel your role in ;Ausuum; is?

BOB: Look, I just wake up, find out what town we're in, get wheelbarrowed to the gig, and ask the audience to kindly remove their glasses because I'm gonna blow their faces off.

INT: What if they don't wear glasses?

BOB: We hand out glasses before every show.

INT: I see--

BOB: They'll have glasses on.

INT: Okay. Does--

BOB: Are you calling me stupid?

INT: No. Does being the token Icelandic Latino in the band fuel the political undertones in your songwriting?


BOB: You're calling me stupid.

INT: I assure you, no.

BOB: Wanna buy a stereo?

INT: No thanks. In the past year, ;Ausuum; has topped the--

BOB: How about some lawn chairs?

INT: Lawn chairs?

BOB: I'm so lonely.

INT: In the past year, ;Ausuum; has topped the US and UK charts with your most recent album, BOOOOOONG. To what do you attribute the overwhelming success of your third studio effort?

BOB: Black magic.

INT: How so?

BOB: I have a trunk full of dolls, potions, dusts, scrolls, you name it. Years ago when I was a hangglider tech for Sleater-Kinney, I dabbled in the black arts.

INT: How has that worked for you?

BOB: I'm gettin' paid, right?

INT: Right.

BOB: Now let me ask you a question, Max...

INT: Laura.

BOB: What happens when you mix nitrogen, iodine, and ammonia?

INT: I suppose you're going to tell me.

BOB: No, I really need to know. I just did it. My hands hurt.

Grab Your Gun

We (the royal we) were talking about our blog a few days ago at Rob's house. Rob mentioned that he thought it would be nice to post about what it's like to be in this band. So here are 10 observations of what it's like, for me, to be in this band.

1. When I joined, I didn't really know how to play drums. I'm still not quite sure.

2. Our rehearsal spaces have never been ideal for me. I hate having to set up and break down almost every time.

3. I wish I could sing on every song, but I know that's not possible.

4. My favorite live show that we've ever played is one we haven't played yet. But the marathon Rendezvous shows last spring come close.

5. I am really looking forward to new songs.

6. I have developed a mild case of stage fright, to the point where I feel insecure about being on stage when I'm not behind a drum kit.

7. When a song of ours comes up on ipod shuffle, I have to skip it, because all I can hear are drum mistakes.

8. I'm really glad that we do a pre-show ritual. I think it works.

9. The best theater show we've ever done hasn't been done yet, in my opinion.

10. David Nixon tried to drug me and have sex with me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Here's a picture from the very first 7-member "Awesome" show, on June 30, 2004:

Photo Shoot 4

Photo Shoot 3

The lawnmower man interrupts Evan's bike shoot.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Photo Shoot 2

Photo Shoot 1

Had a photo shoot tonight at Rob's.

I took pictures like this:

Then went home and took pictures like this:
It was a good night.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

In honor of Canada Day

A myth debunked and the history of a great nation's flag unfurled. Happy birthday, O Canada.
We stand on guard near thee.