Saturday, August 30, 2008

New music video for What They Do

The other day friend Emerald came over and we made a little music video to What They Do. We've got a cut of it that we recently recorded at DubTrain Studios, so that's where the audio comes from. Well, except at the beginning of the video. That audio comes from Emerald. Her favorite bands are Queen, Bjork, and Devo, though she likes "Awesome" a lot too. Especially the songs that have numbers and letters.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


We'll be performing a 20-min segment at LIVE! THEATRE! MASH-UP!, a showcase of seven Northwest artists as part of the Washington Arts Alliance conference on Thursday, September 4th @ 8pm in the Bullitt Cabaret @ ACT Theatre. It's open to the public, and we'd like to invite you to see it. It's basically a new "Awesome" mini-show.

Hosted by K. Brian Neel, the roster includes our friends Circus Contraption, Hand2Mouth, Marya Sea Kaminski, theater simple, UMO Ensemble, and your seven brides of "A" closing out the evening.

Tickets are $15, available here or by calling 206-292-7676.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Four Chapters of The "Awesome" Cycle Revealed

As you know, The "Awesome" Cycle (tickets now available) unfolds in four chapters. Our lawyers inform us that we are now allowed to tell you the details of each of these chapters:

Chapter I. (Oct 24 - 25), "Seven Brides for Seven Band Members": "Awesome" workshops its version of an American classic. Bless your beautiful hide!

Chapter II. (Oct 31 - Nov 1), "A Funeral For Indie Rock": Every generation of critics declares Rock to be dead. This time we've got the corpse to prove it. Come mourn and celebrate the passing of an important part of our heritage.

Chapter III. (Nov 7 - 8), "Election Report and Analysis": "Awesome" helps you understand how the unthinkable occurred and why we're so happy about it.

Chapter IV. (Nov 14 - 15), "The Littlest Bang": This weekend, "Awesome" finally answers the age old question, When the universe finally collapses into itself, only to be reborn again in a new Big Bang, does it actually make a sound?

BUT... Here's the thing. There's a unifying theme that, um, unifies all four weekends -- something that makes sense of what otherwise would seem to be 4 unrelated events. Can anyone figure it out? The first person to do so gets 2 free tickets to the weekend of their choice.

Anyone? Any guesses?

Friday, August 22, 2008


Live blogging from the Deca hotel in Seattle's Universtiy District! Austin is now married to Emily! Reggie Watts is a dancing fool! John O is wearing a pink tie! People are making out in the board room! Don't forget to sign the registry!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Sing Ho for the Wealthy Dead!"

-- these were the lyrics my good friend Emerald (age 5) spontaneously started singing the other day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

wish i could go

I have no idea what you are talking about
Your mouth moves only with someone's hand up your ass

Sunday, August 17, 2008

paperclip cufflinks

We played a wedding reception at the Georgetown Ballroom last night. Basil and I were dressed to the nines in our ruffled tuxedo shirts, but we both forgot to bring cufflinks! I quickly improvised two pair from some paperclips I found. Open the clip, poke it through the holes, and fold it back on each side of your cuff. It worked great! I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of this bold fashion statement.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Meet The Bailiff!

In keeping with Kirk's good idea, here are some things about me. In no order whatsoever:

1. I started playing bass in high school when a friend's band asked me to replace their bass player. I'd never picked up a bass. I'm still pretty sure they chose me because I was the first person who answered the phone.

2. I've never had a bass lesson. I've been meaning to start.

3. Guitar stores are among my least favorite places. 

4. The nickname "Bailiff" came from David trying to remember my name after meeting me for the first time. Basil, Bagel, Bay Leaf, Bailiff - you get the idea. Now we live in the same building.

5. My first name rhymes with "dazzle", not "hazel". Though I have met other Basils who pronounce it the other way. Wrong.

6. I once played in a band with the daughter of Police guitarist Andy Summers. I played drums. We recorded 3 songs which were not very good.

7. If I come across as aloof onstage, I'm really just trying to stay focused. Some of our songs are pretty complicated. And I'm a little aloof.

8. Sometimes I take off my wedding ring to make it easier to play. My wife is okay with this. I think.

9. Kirk and I have known each other since high school and he's only tried to kiss me twice. He's 0 for 2 so far.

10. I believe in doing it right, making it big and giving it class. And also leadership.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Up In My Inbox

This just in:

BREAKING NEWS: Stonehenge was "Part of Crazy Golf Course for Race of Giant Humans"

Thank God THAT'S settled.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Art of the Day

I've been doing more drawing lately.  Jen put me onto this book, Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain.  It's got some great exercises in it.  The image above (click to enlarge) was drawn while looking at a photograph turned upside-down, so that my left brain wouldn't interfere and say, "oh, you're drawing a hand.  Don't worry, I know what a hand looks like."  Instead, you just draw the shapes that are right in front of you, without worrying about whether they're hands or eyes or shadows or smudges.  

Sunday, August 10, 2008

RIP Issac Hayes

If James Brown was the Godfather of Soul, surely Issac must be considered its Stepbrother.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"You're too old for the music industry."

I glanced sideways with the handful of crumbly peanuts halfway to my slack-jawed maw.

"You're too old for the music industry," he repeated, emphasizing the 'O' in 'old' hoping it would drive home his point, when in fact it invoked an impromptu fantasty of driving a nail into his septum. This was a stupid Monday night.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"Once you reach 30, the entrance to the rock dome disappears. Only young kids can find the way in. My advice is to give up and get a full-time job doing something that isn't painful to you."

Like driving nails into the noses of strangers with T-shirts that proudly declare 'Farting Machine'. There are lots of people in this bar, why did...wait. Rock dome?

"What makes you think I'm in music?" Hell, what makes him think I want inside a dome?

"I was listening to you on your phone back there," he answered loudly, as if he couldn't help it. As if he was raised in a jet engine.

I had been talking to my friend E-fab, who plays a gargantuan upright bass and masterfully condenses words, sometimes entire paragraphs, down to a single syllable or even one letter. He called to tell me he had to bail on a gig we had planned for the weekend. "Man, gotsta bail. Sorr'," he had said. And that was it. Yeah. We're all sorr'.

Steely Dan's King of the World hobbled sleepily in the background and I suddenly felt very old. Because I recognized the song. Yes, I'm in music, Farting Machine. But I'm not that old. You're old. And I'm different. The music I make is different. It knows no age boundaries.

Holy shit, I used 'age boundaries' in a thought sentence. Fuck.

"Listen," the Machine continued, "I love rock, man. It means more to me than anything means more to me--" I think this Monday night is a new winner "--but I learned to accept the laws of age and music. You can't break into the music scene after a certain point, it's a young man's game. Girls too yup, there's all kinds of girl bands now." I looked around to make sure no one was listening, or to see if perhaps a steaming mug of poison was nearby. "You can't make it on their terms. The A&R folks are lookin' for hot 'n' young steeds."

Wow. He did say steeds. "I'm not trying to 'make it'," I emphasized the quotation marks by showing my teeth, "I'm just playing music."

"Yup yup, that's what it's about," the Machine nodded like a goddamn horse, "But I can tell this is your life, my friend. You got a myspace...?" he had no idea what to affix myspace to. I didn't have one, in fact, because I knew it was a gateway that led to facebook. "Most of the rules have changed since I was playing in a cover band." Help. "You gotta have something different and untapped to flag people down. Everyone's got ADD. But the secret is that everything comes back to the good ol' standard thing."

"Yeah, well, I don't play the standard thing," I defied my unrequested mentor, "My stuff's pretty out-there." I'm terrible at PR.

"Anyone can play weird, man. That's nothing. What's hard is to make something amazingly simple. Like Bach. That guy was rock 'n' roll. If he was alive today, he wouldn't be shreddin' the guitar or fixin' up all those really fast beats. He'd be calmly playing something so simple it would make everyone sing along, even if there were no words. Once you can do that, you've created an axis in the music universe."

Then he went silent. As if he had accidentally stumbled onto enlightenment and left his beer-gut and farting on the barstool back on earth. The music had stopped. I stared at him as he stared into nothing, perhaps checking in with the rotation of the solar system. Then he nodded some more and stumbled toward the bathroom. His words clung to my forehead. I sat there for a half hour trying to read them again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My First Stolen Drum Set

It’s 1994. Sadiq and I, bored, head down to the UA-150 on 6th avenue. It was demolished in 2002, but back then, they were sort of like the Crest, showing 2nd run movies for $2. It was also a place where junkies and the homeless would hang out and get high or just sleep. It was kind of a cool crusty old theatre, if you didn’t mind the riff-raff. It was built in the late 60’s and was huge inside. It had a curved screen and a curved curtain that lifted up before the show.

Anyway, Sadiq and I get there super early and there’s no one inside. The only other person in the building, as far as we can tell, is the person taking money in the box office out front. (And if memory serves, that same person would run the projector too. It was a really a crappy operation.) So we’re wandering around the place. I remember looking behind the screen and seeing an old stage and a bunch of rigging and stuff. I kinda wanted to climb up in it. Right in front of the screen was a little fence made of yellow fabric that basically kept the bottom of the screen from being seen. And right behind that little fence, sitting at the bottom of the screen, was a bunch of drum set pieces: some roto toms, some cymbals, and a hi-hat stand and pedal. They look a little bit beat up, but otherwise good. Who knows how long they’d been sitting there. Maybe they belonged to a staff member whose band practiced there on off nights. Or maybe they were left there in the 1970’s when some concert happened. Who knows. Sadiq – who has been talking me into doing bad things since I was six years old – suggests that we take them. Back in '94, Sadiq and I had a band called Mah Jong which was just making a transition from folk and rap to disco and funk. (I know, I know.) So getting some drums makes sense. But just as I’m about to reach down to grab something, a patron walks in. Sadiq and I act natural and wander back up to our seats empty handed. There Sadiq hatches a plan: We wait until the movie is going. Then, when the movie comes to a dark scene, we walk down and pick up the drum pieces as if nothing is out of the ordinary, and simply walk to the side door exit.

By the time the movie starts, the theater is about half full. The movie is Carlito’s Way – which I am barely watching, because I’m too nervous about The Plan. Finally, Sadiq signals the time is right (it’s a night scene, giving off very little ambient light) and he goes first. He walks calmly down the aisle, reaches over the fabric barrier and grabs the hi-hat stand, pedal, and cymbal, and begins to walk toward the door. No problem. Then it’s my turn. I walk down and grab the roto toms and turn around. Just then the scene changes to a full daylight scene and the theater is filled with light, which is bouncing off the shiny drum heads as if they were mirrors. All heads swivel to me. After a moment’s pause, I calmly walk up the aisle as if I’m supposed to be doing this and meet Sadiq at the side door. Once we’re on the other side, we’re laughing and running toward the car with our stolen goods.

To Sadiq: Good luck in Israel. We’ll miss you.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008


Last night we played a show at Neumo's Place. Here's what I learned:

-BOAT's lead singer approaches crazy when he's singing/shouting.
-It's fantastic.
-MSHVB's drummer Marshall is 100% crazy angry when he plays.
-He's not really angry, he just pounds the living shit out of that kit.
-It's amazing.
-All three sets ended with progressive-rock suites with angular timing.
-The sound crew at Neumo's Place is so nice.
-We had great sound, from what the peanut gallery told us.
-People are taking to the new material, all one song of it.
-It's promising.
-John Ackermann puts together a nice set. Kudos John!
-Short songs are good to keep the kids from getting bored with your set.
-The long song is a little closer to presentable.
-It's tricky.