Seize the Day with Burning Might

spirit-caravan-tour-datesThe middle of last week I was in Texas and received a text from my kid. “Spirit Caravan is playing in Spokane on Sunday.” I almost didn’t believe him, but I looked into it. I knew they had reformed, and that they would be in the Northwest, but not particularly close. Spokane had indeed been added, and given that’s only three hours away, and it was an all ages show, the road trip was on.

Spirit Caravan is one of my favorite bands, though they broke up several years ago. Scott “Wino” Weinrich is a living legend to those of us into this kind of music. The last time the band had been through this part of the country (13 years ago!), not long before they broke up, I promoted and opened the show for them with my band, Lazerwolfs. I’d become friends with Wino; on a trip to Maryland a few years ago I saw his band at the time, The Hidden Hand, then spent the night and next day at his house. Over the years we’ve stayed in touch off and on, but I hadn’t talked to him since I saw him with Saint Vitus in San Francisco three or so years ago.

sc-1

Long story short, it was a great night. The band killed. Sherman (SC’s bass player) was great to hang with and swap stories. This is a dude who loves the life of heavy music (and weed) that he’s devoted his life to. Hell, even Al, the merch guy, remembered our time together in Missoula so many years ago. It was good to reconnect with him as well. As for Henry, the drummer, this was his first tour with SC. He also drums for Saint Vitus. He’s a friendly guy, whose only complaint is that he’d only had a couple weeks to learn the tunes.

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Most importantly, my boy and I got to hang out with Wino, and Sid was clearly thrilled. It’s a blessing to hang out with your idols sometimes, and it’s even better when they treat you kindly. That was really the point to me, as Sid was very young when he met Wino before. Now, as a young rocker himself playing a style of music that Wino is a pioneer of, it was a big moment for him.

Sid's face says it all
Sid’s face says it all

 

Here’s the song they closed with. It destroys me. It’s a cover of an Animals tune, recorded when Wino was in his band The Obsessed. The man has a soulful voice and one of the best set of hands in the world of guitar playing. Sweet riffs, and an ability to cut loose — like at the 3:20 mark — like few others. Hearing it live was something else.

 

At one point Wino was talking about his own children, and domestic issues, and other things guys — long in tooth and gray of beard as we are — tend to do when we get together. His oldest son, whom I’d met in Maryland as a toddler, is 13 now. “He’s really cool,” Wino said, with a smile. “He’s….” and he struggled with words, then he drew a circle with his finger, encompassing himself, Sid, and me, “He’s one of us.”

 

If you want to see a gallery on flickr of all these shots, dig it HERE. I’m pretty proud of them.

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The Most Trifling Incident Can Make You Snarl With Rage

Which is why you need to add HEMO RAGE to your workout routine, so that the ass you kick will be copious.

Wicked pumps. Boo-friggin’-YEAH.

Vintage Guitar

The short version of the article I wrote about the Travis Bean documentary arrived on newsstands via Vintage Guitar Magazine this week. Or last week, I guess. Hell, I don’t know — what week is it anyway? It’s pretty cool to be in there, though. Even though they spelled my name sorta wrong. And took a sentence out of a paragraph that changed the entire meaning. And left a word out of that paragraph so it makes me look like a moron. Or that they credited the picture I took to Hank. But what the hell, if you buy Vintage Guitar in Indianola, FL, you can see my writing and Hank’s glowing mug (playing the Badlander show that earned _pollen the “loudest band to ever play” there reward)(by the way, I was obviously there; whomever reached that conclusion about their volume was either really drunk, or really stoned, or, most likely, both. They weren’t that loud; you don’t take a 100 watt Rivera Knucklehead and 2 4×12 cabinets out of the backline — as they did for that show — and get louder):

     

As edits go, these aren’t too bad. Clearly they were made for space, and I can deal with that. It’s not necessarily about making the piece better, it’s about making it fit. Hopefully it will get Hank & Co some attention (and some donations). I’m generally okay with editors and making changes, as long as they don’t seem to make a change just for the sake of changing. I once had a review of a record where I described it as being “deceptively heavy” but when it hit print it had been changed to “deceptively light.” That’s only 100% opposite of what I meant. That kind of thing will throw me into, you guessed it, HEMO RAGE!

Live at the Zebra Lounge, Bozeman, May 15th, 2009

Speaking of my friend Hank and his Travis Bean axe, he wrapped up his stint as a Lazerwolfs when we performed our Judas Priest Tribute in Bozeman the other night. It was a lot of fun, hopefully we will do something like that again. If you wonder about the rowdy times kept back stage at a rough-and-tumble rock club, here are Hank and Jimmy, pre-show. I’m sure if there was a window and TV to throw out of it, they would have preferred to do that.

Here’s Bubba reading the walls of the “Green Room.” Green rooms are never green. He got so settled into that couch that, rather than go out to the truck where he’d left his “rock clothes” he played the set instead in his fleece pullover. I don’t see how he didn’t die. He also used the drumsticks I keep in my road case for emergencies rather than go out and get his own out of the truck. What a lazy bastard. And people wonder why more often than not I’d rather not be in a rock band?

The Zebra is cool enough, with a decent (low) stage and great sound, especially on stage. The monitors were melting my face, which is rare. I’m usually lucky if I can just barely hear my vocals, especially in this configuration with all the instruments basically aimed at me in the center of the stage. The stage is in one room, then another room off that is where the bar is (there are 2 or 3 more rooms back in this maze too, actually). The bar has a bunch of art in it. From the stage, directly in front of me was a big pole, which sucked, but off in the back of the room I had a clear sight of this painting through the doorway; when I think of this show, I’m sure I’ll remember this image forever.

Didn’t get any pictures of us playing. In fact, I don’t have any from any of our Priest shows other than the couple Hank’s wife took the first night we did it. That’s unfortunate. Good thing is the soundguy at the Zebra recorded our set, and it came out pretty decent. Here are a couple tunes for your listening pleasure:

Grinder

Steeler

It was a lot of fun. We have a show in Great Falls in June, I think (the booking agent there is kind of inconsistent, and we wouldn’t be the first ones to get tangled in some kind of scheduling snafu), then we are playing a festival out in Minnesota in July, then after that I don’t know. It is so hard to make things happen anymore that I’m pretty burned out, but we’ll see.

30 Inches of Fighting Metal

I love independent, vinyl-only labels. Miskatonic just put this sucker out; I bought the triple-pack, which included all three 10″ records + a 7″ single from The Lamp of Thoth. These are all fantastic, old school English rock/metal bands, and I love them. Releases like this are what keep me interested in music these days. I like a lot of different types of music these days, but this stuff hits me right in the sweet spot.