In the future, we'll all be pioneers

Some people think that the early nineties scene was the "last time music mattered." I'm not sure how I feel about that. In the eighties there seemed to be a growing sense of community and rallying around ideals and creativity. Nobody knew what they were doing and having a lot of fun making it up. You had style wars in hiphop, and underground indie/punk bands playing shows where nobody showed up, and the emergence of independent grassroot networks, zines, labels, venues, etc. - looking back it seems like an explosion. But I imagine at the time, and especially for bands like Black Flag starting out - they really had absolutely no idea what they were doing, and maybe didn't see that they were part of a cohesive movement.

I think there is a lot of great music being made right now but it is very fragmented. There is no sense of community or a cohesive movement. And it's able to operate this way because of tools like the internet allowing fans to laser beam in on music they like and completely bypass mainstream outlets. The iPod lets us even fragment albums and split them, and iTunes lets you pick and choose from entire back catalogs. And while all this freedom is cool, the majority of the positive change is happening on the consumer end of things. It's easier as a consumer of music to find what you want, but as a musician it seems harder than ever to get heard above the noise. In the past a band would write a few good songs, go record a demo at a studio, and then play shows while waiting to get signed. Nowadays more responsibility and work is being put on the musician, because this old model is dying. As a musician it only makes sense to conduct marketing, promotion, and distribution on the web and record high quality recordings at home with digital recording gear. No need for a label, right? It's empowering, but much more work, and confusing since nobody really knows how things are supposed to operate now.

These videos of Fugazi are great. Check out the big bell the drummer starts wailing on halfway through in the second one. Finding old videos/performances of bands is probably my favorite part of YouTube.

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Ben Allison - Beardy - OD show

Hey all! The show was a lot of fun. Thanks especially to those that came on time, and apologies for having to wait around a long time. The last band that was supposed to play canceled and apparently didn't tell anyone...except for a myspace bulletin message that had been sent out a few hours before the show. Lame! Shout out to Justin for making the trek from Champaign and for bringing a huge entourage, much appreciated.

This was my first show playing with Orange Drink, and my first show in a long while. I think the last show I played was with Brendan in Champaign last year (which was also a duo). Jesus, that was last summer. I suppose between moving to Chicago and other life changes shows have taken a backseat but I really would like to start playing more regularly again.

I thought the show went really well, it was the first time I had a microphone next to my drums that I could speak into. WITTY BANTER! WITTY BANTER!

I think it was also the sloshiest, rockiest feeling show I've played. I found myself really digging in a lot harder into the drums and favoring more rawness over technique. Maybe 'cause I've been listening to too much Soundgarden these days? :D

On Friday Drew and I had the good fortune of catching two sets of Ben Allison at the Green Mill jazz club. Ben Allison is one of my favorite contemporary jazz composers as he's able to fuse a lot of different styles and genres in a way that is both grounded and innovative. Although he is technically gifted, I find myself listening past all of the technical details and really getting immersed in the melodic lines and introspective harmonies. In the end he just writes damn good songs, and they always feel fresh. I highly, highly recommend any Ben Allison record. It was doubly awesome to see him in the oldest jazz club still in existence.

Also, last week I was forced beyond my will to take a picture for work. I took way more photos of myself than I'd like to admit, and in the end still couldn't decide on a photo, so I decided to have some fun with it. Here was the result. Taking pictures of myself ranks up there with my least favorite things to do like getting my hair cut in a barbershop and returning things I just bought from a store.


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ORANGE DRINK 2 MAN SHOW - March 3rd, 2006 at Ronny's [2103 N. California Ave, Chicago, IL]

Orange Drink (of which I am currently a member of) is playing a show this Saturday, March 3rd at Ronny's Bar (2103 N. California Ave, Chicago, IL). Drums, guitar, noise, samples, screaming and more. Bring a change of clothes, you may wet your pants.

Saturday, March 3rd 2007 (probably starts around 8pm)

Ronny's Bar []
2103 N California Ave (next to California Blue Line stop)
Chicago, IL 60647

Orange Drink with:
Dramatic Paws []
Miss Autopsy []

This is a benefit for the not-for-profit performance/gallery/art space South Union Arts

Nigeria Fast Tracks Worst Anti-Gay Law in World

There is some terrifying legislation that may soon be passed in Nigeria. Essentially it strips away all rights from homosexuals, and goes a step further to basically deny them the right to express themselves, congregate, and basically exist. Call/write your senators to let them know you are concerned about this. Unfortunately, discrimination against gays is still widely accepted (even promoted?) around the world (and here too). There are some pretty fundamental human rights being violated here. Read more below.

Nigeria: World's Worst Anti-Gay Law May Pass Soon
by Doug Ireland; DIRELAND; February 22, 2007

One of the most sweeping anti-gay bills ever introduced in any parliament in
the world is in danger of rapid passage in Nigeria in the coming weeks.
Although billed as a ban on same-sex marriage, the proposed law includes

First, you've got to get mad

I haven't seen this movie but it seems interesting from this clip.

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It's official.

I have a beard.

Spinnerty wins remix contest!

Meant to post this before...but remember that dance dance revolutionary remix contest a while back my sister organized? Turns out spinnerty won! * head nods and pats on backs all around* Also check out spinnerty's "slow boil" track on his website, it features my ride cymbal.

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Bad TV

I have a strange habit of watching a lot of bad TV. A lot of times I'll just leave the TV on mute...the flickering glow allows my brain to slip into a theta trance.

When I say bad, I mean BAD. Really. How many episodes of the Steve Harvey show have you seen?

Or how about the show, "Yes, Dear?" Oh, never heard of it?

Unfortunately I have the bad luck in finding the meaning behind every episode. No matter how stupid the dialogue, or cliche the plot, I'm a sucker every time.

polish rocks.

don't ask me how or why, but i just got back from jamming with a bunch
of polish rockers in a warehouse slum building. trying to rock out in
odd 6/8 time signatures over casio beats was a challenge. also, there
was a drunk trumpet player and a rather bizarre 40 year old ex-punk
rocker woman wearing dreads and screaming wildly while she flailed her
arms on the bass guitar.

Rhys Chatham

I just went with Drew to see Rhys Chatham at the Empty Bottle. For those of you who don't know (and I didn't before last week), Rhys Chatham is a minimalist avant garde composer from the seventies, who was heavily influenced by rock and punk music. Basically if you can imagine, this guy composes pieces that involve sometimes hundreds of guitars playing one note or drone with a rock beat underneath. It sounds really simple but there is something raw that he is catching, the slight variations between all the guitars, the gut feeling and sheer volume from the performance. It's exactly what minimalist performances should be like, making the audience realize all the details of what they are hearing while putting them in a trance. It just has the added flavor of raw guitars and a heavy beat.

The opening performances were good, warming up the crowd for what was to come. Rhys Chatham came out on stage, as well as members of Tortoise and other local groups. All together there were eleven people on stage - one drummer, one bassist, and nine guitars. The first piece was Guitar Trio, a recreation of a piece he first played around NYC in 1977. It was basically, and I kid you not, the same note played for 40 minutes. Rhys jumped up and down on stage and opened his eyes wide, strumming furiously, despite it being thirty years since the piece was first performed. That's punk rock for ya. The second piece was very similar except the drummer (John McEntire) layed down a heavier beat, the strum rhythms were slightly different, and there was a slideshow displayed at the same time. The second piece also had more dynamics, more like a wave with a few ups and downs, while the first was a straight noise build up.

The "encore" took a moment of preparation, as all the members detuned their guitars randomly. Then all of a sudden they simultaneously strummed their guitars, creating a wall of sound that sounded like a bomb went off. McEntire continued a fury of drum playing (he was sweating his ass off and it looked like he was about to devour the drumset) while the rest of the band played disjunct, chopped, chunky bits of sound that made you want to bang your head against a wall (in a good way).

Oh one more was the LOUDEST F@#%IN show I've ever been to!

Himself influenced by minimalists Morton Subotnik and La Monte Young, the influence of Rhys on such contemporary groups as Sonic Youth and other experimental noise rockers is pretty clear after hearing him. Not just sonically, but also in terms of combining formal highbrow art theories with rock music in a way that makes it much less cerebral and more visceral. I'm glad I got a chance to check him out, it was a great experience, and definitely challenging. I recommend catching him if he is playing in your area, although it's pretty rare.


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