Band Update

In a previous post I wrote about how I tried out for and joined a local Juneau Celtic rock band calling themselves “Fire on McGinnis”. Since that first post we have been practicing weekly if not more to get current with the groups existing song list. This is something I am having an easier time with then with other bands I have been involved with. Fire on McGinnis has a CD that I am able to listen to. They also go as far as to record almost all of our practices and send out the results as MP3s so you can listen and continue to work on songs on your own time.

I feel lucky that not only have I had a CD to listen to and get up to speed, but the whole group is very professional when it comes to practice time. Very little time is wasted in between songs or working on issues with songs. Everyone gets a chance to give their thoughts on a piece and we work on them till one we all like is agreed upon.

When I moved to Juneau I brought my drum set with me. All my drumming hardware had a few miles on it to begin with and I was hopeful when I moved up here I would find a band right away. Well we all know that did not happen. For the better part of 5 years my drum kit remained untouched and my skills atrophied. I was very close to selling off my drum kit when I did one last search of Craigslist and discovered that Fire on McGinnis was looking for a drummer.

Like I said, time had done a number on my kit. In the first month of practice with the band two cymbal stands and one hi-hat stand broke along with a cymbal. Last week I placed a an order with Guitar Center to replace the stands with new Ludwig stands and one Zildjian Cymbal. The order took one week to get here, but my kit is pretty much back to normal again.

I am really looking forward to play shows and learning the rest of the songs on the bands set list. The few people I have told in town that I was in a band all seemed to have heard of Fire on McGinnis and are really looking forward to the next show we play. I would be lying if I said I was not excited myself.

Fire on McGinnis

Not that long ago I was trolling around Craigslist looking for any local bands that might be in need of a drummer. This is something I have done every 4 or 5 months for the last 4 years. My heart has always been crushed by the lack of anything music related in Alaska’s southeast search results of Craigslist.

Recently I struck pay dirt and found a local Celtic rock band that goes by the name of Fire on McGinnis that was in search of a drummer. With the information I found on their Craigslist posting I sent them an e-mail not expecting a reply. Like I said, I have lived in Juneau for 4 years and most attempts at being in a band have not worked.

The next day I did get an e-mail back from Fire on McGinnis saying they where interested and would like to meet with me and talk. They let me know right up front that they did have two other drummers who where trying out for the part and that they wanted me to be aware of that.

The following week I met with one of the members of the band and we had a 15 minute conversation where I was brought up to speed on the band’s history and what they where looking for and hoping to find in a drummer. Again I was told they had two drummers ahead of me waiting to try out, but I was asked if I could sit in on a jam sessions with two of their members next week. I said yes! I was handed a demo CD of the bands work to listen to.

That week could not come fast enough, but when it did come I was ready. Myself and two members of the band setup our equipment and played a song off the CD and I Played the drumming part all most identical to the CD. When we finished the song they all said it sounded great, but that they wanted to play it again the way I wanted to drum it. Not the way that was on the CD. So, I did and it turned out they liked my changes to the drumming part.

For the most part now I have changed all the drumming parts on all of the bands songs and they have liked all of them. I take notes on all the songs we have played and keep them logged in a Moleskine Notebook which works out pretty well for me.

Fire on McGinnis is what happens when a pipe and drum band gets bored playing “Scotland the Brave” over and over for 10 years.

As it stands the band has a show planned for med January. I think if things go really well there might be a new years show too. It all just depends on how quickly I can learn all the songs and when the band feels we are all ready.

Lets Please Brake Up Weezer

My brother Abe, pointed me to a damn funny post in The Stranger titled: Want to See Weezer Break Up? Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is! Essentially James Burns, of seattle (who I now think is one of the smartest people in the world) has this game plan of getting 10 million dollars together to give the band Weezer, if they will break up.

James writes:

I have never been a fan of this band. I think that they are pretty much horrible, and always have been. Even in the early 90’s.

But this isn’t about me. This is about the Weezer fans. They are our brothers and sisters, our friends, our lovers.

Every year, Rivers Cuomo swears that he’s changed, and that their new album is the best thing that he’s done since “Pinkerton,” and what happens? Another pile of crap like “Beverly Hills” or “I’m Your Daddy.”

This is an abusive relationship, and it needs to stop now.

I am tired of my friends being disappointed year after year.

I am tired of endless whimsical cutesy album covers and music videos.

I’m sick of hearing about whatever this terrible (and yes, even if you like the early stuff, you should be able to admit that they are wretched now) excuse for a band is up to these days.

If all 852,000 of you (really?) who bought “Pinkerton” pitch in $12, we will meet our goal.

I beg you, Weezer. Take our money and disappear.

I am standing behind james by making a donation to this (what can only be described honestly as a) humanitarian cause. If this works and James is successfully able spare the world from another crap fest album from this shitty band I can only hope he will shift his attention to getting other bands to stop.

My suggestions? Lenny god damn Kravitz.

So what happens if James raises the 10 million and Weezer refuses accept it. James has this to say:

One of the most pervasive criticisms of this campaign is that the money could be used for a better cause.

And after reading many of the comments on The Point site and others, I have decided to do just that.

So IF we raise the Ten Million (and remember, no money changes hands until we do,) and IF Weezer declines the money (because calling them “mediocre” would be generous, and they should just go away, really)….

…wait for it…

…wait for it…

I am going to be donating the ten million dollars to RIF (Reading Is Fundamental) programs across the country. Because for fuck sakes, most of y’all’s reading comprehension is for shit, and it appears that most of you don’t read well enough to appreciate humor.

I might also open a journalism school. Teach some of you copypasta “journalists” how to do something called “fact-checking.

Geez oh pete, you people are insufferable.

James is a damn funny guy and checking out The Stranger site and The Point site just to read the comments and his replays is well worth the time.

I Was On The Radio!

KTOO and KXLL Radio Station In Juneau
KTOO and KXLL Radio Station In Juneau

Last Tuesday I was invited by The Knife Ulu Mills, to join her on the radio. Ulu hosts her own two-hour radio show called Tuesday Night Slice where she gets to play some great music and do a bit of banter with her guests. The show in Juneau is on Excellent Radio KXLL 100.7.

I have never been on the radio before. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had been pretty excited about it all week. One of the things Ulu told me was I could bring in some music to play on the show. This was pretty exciting for me. For some reason songs just sound better on the radio and I could not wait to put together a set of songs to play.

Right off the bat I knew I was going to play Local H. My all time favorite band. How could I not play them? At first I didn’t know which song from their albums I was going to play ,but when it came down to it I figured this might be the only time I will ever be on the radio so I wanted to start strong. I went with Bound for the Flour by Local H.

Every song I picked after that was a painful process for me. It felt like making a mix tape for a girl you have a crush on in high school. Each song has to say the right thing and convoy the right feeling. I scrutinized way to long over the right CDs and songs to bring with me. I ended up picking 6 CD. The songs I had picked out where:

I did want to come with more than that. I didn’t want to give off an impression to people at the radio station that I was an over bearing music Nazi and this is what we have to play. I was also nervous that I didn’t pick out enough music either.

CD Library

Tuesday came and I drove over to the radio station at 7:30pm. It was an awesome day. The sun was out and it was warm. People where out and about driving in their cars. Ulu met me at the door where we said our hellos. She kept saying that I brought a lot of music with me and I kept thinking that meant I brought to much. We hadn’t even started and I already made a mistake.

CD and Vinyl Library
CD and Vinyl Library

We walked up a flight of stairs to the second floor of the building. The first room we stepped into was what I think was called the music archive. This room was stacked floor to ceiling with CDs and Vinyl records. It was very over whelming at first. Ulu let me know that I could use this library of music they had to pick out songs to play on the radio if I wanted.

Next, Ulu took me down the hall to the room we would be broadcasting from. Again this was somewhat overwhelming for me. She sat behind a long desk that was big enough for two people to sit on either side. In front of her she had four computer monitors which I believe where connected to four different computers. She also had her laptop hooked up. She showed me how we could use the computers to search for music that the radio station had digitized and how to add it to the on air play queue. I was also shown how to switch the music source, fade in an out, turn the microphones on and off, and a whole list of other stuff she went through that I have no idea how to do.

After she did her best to make me familiar with the equipment sitting in front of me, we started building a playlist for the first half hour of the show using the CD’s I brought and the music available at the station.

It all went by to quickly and before I knew it Ulu and I where on the Air. She introduced me and I said hello to the people in radio land. We chatted for about 3 or 4 minutes. She said she was excited to have me on the show and I thanked her for having me. It was a real easy back and forth we did with each other and it helped calm my nerves. Then just as quickly as we started Ulu told her audience that I had picked out the first song we would be playing that evening. I replayed with “Yup, the first song we will be playing is “Bound for the Floor” by my all time favorite band, Local H”. With that the music started up and Ulu and I where free to talk to ourselves again.

At some point early on we had the grand idea of make the show that night all about happy music. No music about losing your girlfriend or missing someone special. No, not for us and not for that night. We choose to seek out only happy music for the two hours we would be on the radio.

Making this decision meant that we had to go through our playlist and rebuild it. We quickly went through and replaced some of the not-so-happy songs with something happier. It felt like we no sooner got the playlist setup and then where back on the air. We told the people listening that we had come up with a theme for the night and we encouraged them all to call in and request some happy music. They did.

Through the rest of the night we got a hand full of call in requests as well as some on-line requests.

Ulu Mills
Ulu Mills

I was very impressed with how easy everything appears to function at the radio station. Granted, I still don’t fully understand how all the machines work but I think if I had more time with it I would figure it out easy enough.

At the end of the two-hour show Ulu and I got back on the air one last time to say good night. Ulu thanked me for coming on and said I should come back. I told her I had a great time and I would love to come back and do it again. So it looks like I will be back again on Tuesday Night Slice this Tuesday at 8pm.

Local H – The 6 Angry Records Tour

Last Friday was the Local H Concert at El Corazon in Seattle dubbed “The 6 Angry Records Tour.” I was so excited to go and see my good friend Lyle and hear some great music from my favorite band.

I packed really light for this trip. I think I took the least amount with me that I have ever taken on a trip. Just a couple of shirts, a pair of pants, a camera, and my backup PowerBook.

My dad and brother took me to the airport in Juneau and waited around till I got checked in and passed through security. I was shocked when I got through security as saw that the terminal was just packed wall to wall. I have never seen the Juneau airport so full. I don’t know if that is a result of Alaska Airline’s reduced flights in and out of Juneau or if it’s just a really busy travel time.

Eventually I got to board my plan that was running a few minutes late. As I walked up to to the plan I started to see signs stating that this plane had in flight WiFI access. Sweet! However I learned that this was a farce. The passengers of the plane where even told that yes, we would have in-flight wifi access once we got above ten thousand feet. No sooner where we in the air when they made the announcement that in-flight WiFi is not available in Alaska. WTF  Alaska Air lines? It also does not help that your flight attendants on my flight where technological morons.

The over all flight however was fine. I sat next to a baby that managed not to cry once! I was able to get a quick nap and was on the ground in Seattle before I new it. Flying over seattle was pretty neat because the city was seen through a giant sucker hole that was gone by the time Lyle and I got to our hotel.

Lyle met me at baggage clam and we took a shuttle to get the rental car. This was my first experience of renting a car and it was a good one. The Car ( a Chevrolet HHR which stands for Heritage High Roof) was a peace of shit. The whole thing is a blind spot.

We drove to downtown Seattle and checked into our hotel. From their we walked. It was a great day and perfect for walking and checking out the city. We walked for what I think was three miles to Dick’s Drive-In for dinner. Ever since I moved to Alaska I am always craving Dick’s Burgers. This trip was perfect for getting some.

After Lyle and I finished our burgers and shakes we walked to this used book store called “Twice Sold Tales”. Inside we where greeted by a happy fat cat. We did a quick scan of the books. I looked for some older Dungeons & Dragons books but struck out.

From the used book store we walked to El Corazon. Lyle was stopped by security because he has a pocket knife on him. No worries for us. We were early so we just walked back to the hotel and put his pocket knife in the room and walked back to the venue.

We went through the pat down again and got inside. We then made our way to the bar where Lyle was stopped again because he did not have a current divers license. So out side we both went so Lyle could have a smoke. We got some shit for trying to get back inside the venue. I guess once you enter your not supposed to leave?

So we are back inside the venue as the opening back for Local H is finishing up their last three songs. I snapped a couple of the pictures of the unmanned Local H merch table and people are starting to come in off the street for the main act.

Scott and Brian took to the stage. Scott was funny as he announced that he just got back from the Cinnaroma and saw Iron Man 2 which he did not like. He stated that Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau where overrated and that the only good movie Robert Downey Jr. made was “A Scanner Darkly“.

Scott also asked a little boy in the crowd how old he was and the boy said “9 years old”. Scott then said “Man, I have said “Fuck” more times then you are old. Fuck, I said it again!”

The thing about this Local H tour is it’s called “The 6 Angry Records Tour” where one person from the audience gets to draw from a hat one of the names of Local H’s last 6 albums and the band will play that album from start to finish. The album that was drawn that night was “Here Comes The Zoo“. I finally got to hear “What Would You Have Me Do?” live which is my favorite song of that album.

After they finished playing the whole album the band played a couple more of their songs. I snagged a photo of the set list before it was taken away by a fan.

After the last song was played Scott just walked off the stage to the back of the venue to his merch table and started selling shirts and CD’s and giving autographs. I got in line to buy some shirts and when I got up to Scott I showed him my plane ticket and explained I flew down that day from Alaska to see Local H play and that it was worth every penny.

With raw throats from shouting during the concert Lyle and I left the venue and headed to some all night greasy spoon restraint he knew of that made great milk shakes. They where perfect for our tired bodies, soar throats and ringing heads.

However on the way to this place we found this in the cement sidewalk. What the hell is this? It looks like Tony Stark’s Ark Reactor. Their were like 6 of them.

[Update: 6.25.2010] I met a nice couple at the show who had a something far better then a camera phone to take pictures with. I traded e-mail address with them and just got copies of the photos they took at the show. Blow you will see the new photos.