You’re Like One of Those People Who Only Like the Singer or the Guitar Player

Wednesday night was a friggin’ rock show at The Badlander. I’d never been there before, and when I saw how small it was, particularly the stage, I had my doubts. But the place filled up and it was unreal. One of the best shows I’ve been to, certainly in Missoula. Mahamawaldi opened the show, and they were their punishing, death metal selves. They do their thing very well, and people dug them.

I’ll talk about The Sword next, even though they were the headliners and played last. They were good. Not great, but good. Probably better than their records, since it was live and delivered with thunder. They certainly aren’t the indie pretty boys many say they are, they just looked like greasy touring rockers like every other band that tours out of a van. Julia did acknowledge that one of them was cute enough for the hype, and he was also the most “rock” of any of them. He’s the one on the left in this shot:

While she was licking her lips over goldilocks, I was lusting for the bass player’s telecaster bass. It was a reissue, but I reflected on my high school band director’s vintage tele bass that he used to let me play, and I wanted it.

The drummer took his job very seriously. A solid player, but I don’t think he smiled once. I was right up front, close enough so that the air coming through the mic opening in the front head off the kick drum was blowing against me with every beat. This picture looks like he’s trying to relocate a troublesome burrito:

It was a brutal crowd. Julia and I were shoulder to shoulder right up front for the whole show, and it was a battle. Waves of drunken college kids tried to supplant us, but they broke like waves against the rocks. She impressed the hell out of me, because I know I was just getting hammered repeatedly from the crowd. It’s kind of fun to be able to exert 100% strength now and then, but I worried about her. She did a great job. I thought I would be sore, but aside from my ears ringing, the only other thing is the palms of my hands are really sore from being pressed against the monitors. Julia has a bruised knuckle where she backhanded some dude who head-butted her. I’m telling you, it was a rock show. Sid and Will are both bruised and battered from the mosh pit. It was a great time.

Slough Feg

My god, did Slough Feg rock. I’d heard how great they are live, and I love their records, but they blew me away. And I don’t blow away easily. I loved everything about them. I loved hanging out before the show and chatting with them a bit. Julia, Mike Scalzi (Slough Feg’s Main Guy) and I talked about being old warriors in bands with really stupid names that nobody knows about and fewer like, but that it is still so goddamn great and fun simply because so much of it IS so stupid! I loved that they are touring in a pair of minivans (their bass player, when I was proclaiming my amazement and lust over his bitchin’ 4×12 bass cabinet said, “It’s 2000 watts, and best thing is it fits in the minivan!”), I loved that they didn’t have any stinkin’ roadies (The Sword had 3), I loved that their pedals and cables and stuff were being pulled out of ratty old backpacks and satchels . . . I just loved how real it all was. Then they plugged in and just dominated.

Like Bob Marshall (drummer for Volumen, guitar player for Bacon and Egg, and owner of Biga Pizza) said, they were like everything that is good about rock n’ roll distilled down into one band. They were THAT good. I’m flying high over it, big time. I wish I was in that band, for crissakes. As I mentioned, the stage at The Badlander is really small, but it had a bunch of cabinets and tables off stage left, and Scalzi kept getting up and getting out on the wing. At one point during a song that has dueling leads going back and forth between he and “Don” Angelo Tringali (2nd guitarist), Scalzi takes his guitar off and hands it out into the crowd to Julia’s boyfriend from The Sword, who is just rocking out with everyone else, and that guy commences to shred; this went back and forth a couple times. It was brilliant. The crowd ate that shit up. Mike Scalzi is the real deal. I’m practically hyperventilating just thinking about it. I can’t wait to see them again.

We’re Rolling

Tonight Missoula’s own answer to Heavy Rock Quality, the mighty LAZERWOLFS, commence recording of our third album, titled La Bruja. I’m very excited. We haven’t recorded in a couple years, actually. We used to rehearse in Jimmy’s garage, which was also a studio, and we got spoiled because we could record whenever we wanted to. Since he moved and hasn’t rebuilt a new studio yet, we haven’t recorded. The new “control room” is all set up and ready to go in the conference room of the office he runs (which is also where we rehearse). This go-round will be different for us in a lot of ways. Not only are we under pressure to bang the entire thing out in one weekend, it is also the first time we have songs to record that we’ve never played live before. Sure, we’ve demoed new stuff in the past, but never from “brand new” straight to album before. Christ, I don’t even know for certain what I’m going to sing on a couple songs. That adds an element of freshness and excitement that I am eager to jump in the middle of. And then next week we are going into Habbilis to record TATER PIG!

You All are False Punks! Why Don’t You Go Back to Beaverton!

That title is the line some stoned-out-of-his-mind devil worshiper guy laid on us while we prowled the mean streets of Portland, OR, last Saturday. It was pretty funny actually. I like to walk at a distance from Sid and his buddy Will just for the fun of it; this guy had some book or something he wanted Sid to look at and Sid just kind of blew him off. We didn’t even realize he was “punk.” I thought it was a religious thing, but Sid said he thought the book was for like devil worship, I don’t know. But the guy was kind of giving Sid some grief, so I intervened with a hand on Sid’s shoulder and kind of stepped between them, giving the guy The Look. The guy hauled ass, but once he distanced himself from us by about a block he started hollering that Sid and Will were “false punks who should go back to Beaverton.” I laughed. Here are Sid and Will at the Saturday Market, with a couple “real punks” (one must assume, anyway) nearby. This picture makes me laugh too:

The Black Keys

We went to Portland primarily to see The Black Keys, who totally friggin’ rocked. They played the Crystal Ballroom, which was a fantastic venue. I loved the show. They were great, the lights were great, everything was great. If you haven’t hipped yourself to this band, do so now. Their new album is fantastic, if something of a departure for them. Word on the street is that it was originally supposed to be an Ike Turner record, but he up and died, so the Keys did their own R&B style record. There is some great stuff on it, regardless of the truth of that story. Here is a clip someone shot from that very show; we are a set of the heads at the front of the stage:

Portland

We loved Portland; I feel I could actually live there. We had limited time — just a few hours on Saturday — to explore, but we still enjoyed ourselves. Julia’s brother lives there in the Alberta Arts District, and it was awesome. We could walk from his place to a great little neighborhood retail area with shops, dining, everything you’d need. I love neighborhoods like that. We hit some of the landmarks — Voodoo Doughnuts, Powell’s Books, etc. — and walked the soles off our feets. I put some pics up on my flickr page; you can dig them here. Here is taste of a couple:

I loved Portland. Coming back was the first time I’ve ever felt like I could be living somewhere better when I got home. It also made me appreciate a couple things. For example, I loved Powell’s but it totally overwhelmed me. It made me appreciate our great little bookstores right here in Missoula (:cough: Shakespeare and Company :cough:) that much more. And the ritual of finding parking sucked. Other than that I loved it.

Tater Pig Rock

We also did a Tater Pig show at Mississippi Pizza Pub, and it was a blast. Other than getting repeatedly shocked in the mouth by my microphone, we delivered a rocking set. It was a cool venue, and the crowd was enthusiastic. We can’t wait to get back to rock there again. The combination of the show, and the music we listened to while driving, and the Black Keys show, was all very inspirational. We are recording over the first weekend in May, and we are stoked. We just need to get some more shows locally!

And that was pretty much the trip. Tomorrow I fly to St. Louis again for work. Weird to be going back there again so soon, but the week after that I am in Portland for work. I am looking forward to that!

Ace Frehley

Hey, just because I’ve hardly posted this week doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy!

Ace Frehley Wrap-Up

I just posted my wrap-up article on the Ace Frehley experience over at New West. You can dig it here. If I get some more photos (I’m expecting a disc full in the mail, and maybe even some video) I’ll upload, but for now this should be it. Here are a few shots:

The Set List

The Boy, the Legend, and the Grinning Idiot:

Ace’s Band — Scot Coogan (Drums), Derrek Hawkins (Guitar), and Anthony Esposito (Bass) — and a Couple Rock Dudes:

Ace, Photographed By a Guy Right Beside Me:

Finally, Ace with a Couple Other Guys on Their Farewell (?) Tour:

Thanks everyone for bearing with me through all this. It was friggin’ awesome.