JUNE 24, 2007:
To answer the obvious question, no, I haven't been in a coma, on drugs, or more than usually under the influence of my bipolarity. I HAVE been ultra busy and I've had problems with this software, and so most of my communication has been through MySpace, which has a...uh...friendlier...way to work. Now that I've got this sorted again, I'll be working on streamlining this site and having some fun with it again.
I DID get Mickey's CD done, and I think it sounds pretty cool! We had the release party this last Friday, and a pleasant time was had by all. I learned a lot while recording it, and I think that my next recordings will be even better. Like writing and playing music, engineering is a thing that you have to keep working at and evolving. It's a lot of fun, although I just wish I had another say, 5 days a week to just do that.
I'm also working on doing some archive CDs of my older work, and brainstorming ways to get some of this massive backlog out without going either crazy or broke. There may well be some free downloads on this site very soon of some of my favorite work, I'll let you know when and hope you'll enjoy them!!
As you can see, this website, my CD Baby and pages of my MySpace website have been joined together, so feel free to go back and forth and explore. You may have to use your back arrow to exit an occational page...I'll be taking care of that asap.
Anyway, it's good to be back and putting this page back together. Drop me a line if you have any comments, ideas or large amounts of money...that last one would be especially good right now...
AUGUST 20, 2006:
Well, as usual I'm woefully late in getting to this website, but that's what life is about...procrastination. I was gonna stop procrastinating, and I will someday, but right now I'm putting that off till I have time to. I'm really busy, hard at avoiding anything like attending to important issues. Actually I have been doing some useful work occationaly, working with friend and musician Mickey Richard on his new CD, arranging new tunes with Jesse Richards, playing in the Witch Doctors and drinking lots of beer. No, wait, that's not work, that's just being a wastrel. I knew there was something wrong with that. Oh well. Darn. Anyway, the music stuff is going rather well, and I'm not gonna say anything more about my new recordings till they're done (a gasp of relief from the crowd).
A minor distrubing note is that Cynthia has discovered Pastafarianism, a religion that worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster as God. Whether this is good or bad is yet to be seen. However, ministers of the church of FSM dress in pirate regalia, which is a good sign. Cyn looks dynamite in pirate regalia. Perhaps I will also become a Reverend of FSM, I have lots of good pirate clothes. I have to do a little more research.
My newest musical instrument folly is another upright bass! I was looking to build an electric upright (I've had a couple of these over the years), and I went to the local classsical music instrument store, and talked to the repair folks over there. They found me a 1/2 size upright with its top kicked in...seems some kid had got fed up with lessons and wanted to make sure they stopped! So his loss is my gain. Mickey Richard, who I'm helping produce a CD for, is an accomplished luthier and woodworker, and is putting the top back together. I think this may be a good electric/acoustic instrument...after we reassemble it! More on that later...
MAY 14, 2006:
Revamping this website...this may take a while, as I'm webmastering a bunch of other people's sites as well. Including the Budzguitars site, where my friend Dave "Bud" Budzinski is promoting some of the coolest guitar pickups on the planet...and my contribution to the MySpace lifestyle at http://www.myspace.com/beowulfkingsley which I put together for fun and also because their software is a little kinder and gentler than that which I use for this site. I may streamline this place by linking some of the MySpace pages to these, so watch out for that! I like networking with people out there, and there's some great bands as well.
Working on the new musical project, but as it's just in it's infant stages I'll not jinx it by saying too much yet...if we have any gigs I'll list em, of course, but hold tight till then. Some of the new tunes from the studio are up here on autoplay on various pages of the site, so keep yr speakers up a little and tell me what you think when you hear them.
My next bit of housekeeping here will be the Links page, which has gotten really dusty and out of date...sorry about that. Lots of new friends and cool places to list, for you folks looking for interesting new sites to surf to, there'll be lots to see...when I do that...which should be soon...if I don't get distracted...like by this guitar here...
FEB 7, 2006:
We're well through the holidays by now...which were mostly fun, filled with gigs, family, travel (a hair-rasing ride down to Washington D.C. included) and wild indulgence. I think I'm mostly recovered. Now our little farmhouse is frozen by the Febuary cold, and I'm working like crazy (crazy is the operative term here) in my studio, trying to make sense of the software upgrades and figuring out how to get a really good acoustic guitar tone, while turning my electric into a monster from space. Easy to have hours evaporate up there...and they do. I'm working right now on a few tunes for my friend and sometimes bandmate Mark Boone the Modfather, the best dressed man in Rock and Roll. Very retro and a lot of fun...he's a great songwriter. I'm also collaborating on a new project with multimedia artist Jesse Richards, whose last CD I co-produced. Lots of interesting tunes happening there...I'll keep you posted! Now that the studio is regeared, I'll be able to free those tracks that I keep talking about as well. Technology, friend or foe? The answer is "YES". Michael Katon is off on the road this week, without me this time. I love playing with Mike, and his tours are always a blast, but the timing was impossible this trip. I feel sorry I won't be able to see all of you Katon fans, lots of you are good friends that I'll miss seeing, but I know you'll all be thrilled and amazed at his new lineup...it should really be fantastic! And I will see you all again, either on a later tour with Mike or with some of the other great artists I've been working with. I am incredibly lucky to be able to do what I'm doing in my life! I'm having a gas playing with these excellent musicians, producing in my studio, hanging with my wonderful girlfriend and living in these cool and funky surroundings.
Well, it's off to the gym, then the botanical garden (got to hang out and groove with the cactus, baby), then a session with Jesse, then more studio work...ah, life is good! I'll talk with all you cool folks later.
NOV 21, 2005:
The winds of November blew through here early this month, knocking out power to the farmhouse and knocking all the leaves off the trees. Now the woods look skeletal, and the countryside is a palette of browns and greys. Flocks of late-migrating birds straggle across the slate-colored sky, and the air is cold. Frost covers the dead grass in the mornings, and everything in the weather whispers that winter is only a matter of time, and that time is moving fast.
Don't I sound cheery? Nothing like a Michigan fall to bring out the depressive poet in us all. The upside of all this gloom is that the holiday season is here, and family and friends are arriving to bring hope meaning and pumpkin pies to the party. Thus we in the Northland survive the harsh climate. With that and of course the dark beers.
Well, the new Jesse Richards CD is out and on the market! I seem to have credit for production, bass and guitar playing, and "orchestral arranging" as well. Strange, I don't recall the orchestra, seems I would have remembered them. Actually I think Jesse was referring to my digital drum manipulations in the studio, and my playing everything but vocals on some tracks. That was fun by the way...she sent me a recording of her accapella parts and I did instrumental parts around that. The first track on the CD was constructed that way, and I think it worked out really well. It was a really good experience, the CD sounds fantastic, make sure to get several for the Xmas giftgiving. Our next project will be a performance at Ann Arbor's Ark on Dec 8, if you're in town make it over, it should be a lot of fun. Madcat Ruth (Harmonica), Matt Steward (Drums & Percussion, Alyssa Schriber (Vocals & Percussion), Abby Alwin (Cello) & Judy Piazza (Percussion) will be joining Jesse along with yours truly...I'm looking forward to it!
And YES, I am going back into the studio today to do battle with my tapes & recordings! I'll keep you posted on how its going (now that I'm once again able to post...I had the network go down this month and had to figure out how to fix it. I guess I'm getting tech-savvy whether I want to or not!)...More soon...
OCT. 17, 2005:
Autumn is here in Michigan, a splashy wash of reds and golds, pumpkins ripening in the fields and kids excited by the advent of the holiday season. Elders grow reflective, thinking of falls of the past, pondering on the future. And where have I been? I'm a little of both really old and really young, and I've been racing around like crazy, doing double duty on my business (Supergirl Cynthia is down in Gonzales Lousianna, managing a Red Cross shelter for Katrina and Rita survivors), and playing crazy gigs (more on that later), as well as frantically finishing up Jesse Richards new CD Wildcard and whipping up webpages for folks as they need 'em. That and taking care of the cats and birds and ferret and tree frogs, putting stuff up from the garden, all that pastorial stuff that poets who don't have to do it wax poetical about. Farm living!
On crazy gigs, one of the most fun this last month was at the Northfield Roadhouse with Unknown Hinson. If you haven't heard of this guy check him out! Besides being the world's only Rockabilly Vampire (with the most amazing sideburns in showbiz), and writing psychotic and hillarious songs, he's just an amazing musician. If he's playing in your neiborhood, go see him, you won't regret it.
Well, I'm off again to the studio, this time to finish off more of Jesse's stuff...after that, I'll wrap up Atomic Weasel Ball, I promise! I appreciate everybody who's written me wanting me to finish the damn thing, I'm a little perplexed at the enthusiasm everyone's shown for the project, but hey, I'll have it done right after this next bottle of Everclear.
SEPT. 17, 2005:
Well, we did it!! The benefit at the Northfield Roadhouse was a smashing success. Together we raised $19,225 for the Red Cross (who were absolutely amazed when we came in with the cash), and had an amazing time doing it. Huge thanks to Chef Chris, Linda and Thayrone for their tireless efforts, for all the great bands that gave their time and talent, for ALL the volunteers who worked their butts off, and the Northfield and their wonderful staff that really made it happen! What an event! The food as always was superb (Chris is the Jedi Master of the barbeque), the layout & organisation was fabulous (the two stages and a time-staggered presentation schedule were perfect), and the performances...what can I say, so many great moments. Al Hill kicked it with the Love Butlers and some really fine New Orleans grooves, and then again with Whit Hill and her fine Country-flavored songs. I missed (Bad Todd! No biscuit) my old homies the Motor City Shieks, but by all reports they tore up the house! Doug Deming and Wixom Slim were no slouches either, and Chef Cris put in an exemplary set of Voodoofied ritual blueification, helped by many special guests. We didn't do so bad wtih the Witch Doctors either...with a little help from our friend and spriritual mentor Michael Katon! But for me the highlight of the night was the reunion of the unbeliveable Silvertones, all at the top of their form thirty years or more later, with Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds sitting in and sounding like a charter member of that legendary group. Hearing them reminded me of when I was a young lizard (in a day when Great Lizards walked the earth), listening to bands like them and some others in Ann Arbor's Roots Music fiesta heydays, and of why I wanted to play music like that in the first place. Thank all of you who made it, we made a little bit of music and community history that night, and did a really good thing for all the folks down south at the same time. If you missed it, don't feel too bad...just remember to get out and off the couch to some live music asap (we host a Blues Jam at the Northfield every Wednesday night, if you're wondering where to start), and please do surf over to the Red Cross website and make a little contribution. The people of Lousianna and Mississippi, and your own heart, will thank you for it.
On a sad note, I need to honor the passing of a bright light in our local sky. Laura Mann, a beautiful, funny and caring soul, has left us, called no doubt to higher and more important things on a higher and more important plane of reality. I really regret not having gotten the time to know her better. Her battle with cancer and its attendant complications was a lesson to all of us in bravery, strength and the ability to keep the joy of life alive against incredible odds. My heart is with her family, and with the people who loved her.
SEPT. 11, 2005:
Here we are on the anniversary of a national tragedy, and we're trying to contend with another one... the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. I strongly urge all and sundry to come out to our benefit at the Northfield Roadhouse tomorrow, if you can...all proceeds go to the Red Cross. More info on bands playing, times, and more can be had by clicking HERE. If you can't make it, please surf over to the American Red Cross site and make a donation...buy the folks on the gulf coast a drink! They deserve it. My girlfriend Cynthia is on 24 hour call to be deployed by the Cross, while I play benefits and watch the goats and chickens... she's the coolest! Whatever your time and abilities may be, please help by doing a little something if you can...give blood, or a little time, or a little cash, or whatever. We can make a difference. To all my friends down south that are displaced and struggling, bless you, and please don't give up hope. We're all gonna try to do our best for you.
It's strange to think that 9/11 was so long ago now, it feels like only days since my cousin walked up the hill to our cabin in Montana with the news...we were fortunate in that my entire family (including myself and Cynthia) were vacationing together at a Reunion out by Yellowstone Park. At least we knew where we all were, and we were far enough removed from the world to feel at least temporarliy safe...although we knew things had changed forever. Now, with fear and anger spread across our increasingly more frightening national landscape, there's more need than ever for people to conciously work for peace and freedom. We know that it's patriotic to question our government...truth can stand questioning, be it in government, or religion, or between friends. Let's keep working for truth, and for freedom, and to help everyone we can who needs it. Thanks and goodnight.
AUGUST 2005 (CONT.):
Another week, another festival...it's Summertime! This week we played at the rather strange but sweet Cowpie Fest in Grand Rapids, MI. Way out on a farmer's property, it was literally "out behind the barn", in a field that usually houses a herd of cattle, hence the name. Well, they'd cleaned out the grounds, with a couple of notable exceptions! On the home front, the studio is up and running, and I'm back hammering out music as much as I can. I will be doing some production work for Jesse Richards new album if all goes well, we're just getting the framework down now, more on that as it progresses. It's been interesting working with the diverse group of musicians that I have in the last year...Michael Katon, Jesse Richards, Thayrone, The Buzzrats...and more fun to come! I'll keep you posted.
Well, hurray! I'm able to get entries published again! Hahahehe...the technical stuff involved I won't bore you with and most of it I don't understand anyway. Suffice it to say I'm back and will able able to put up posts again. Boy what fun the Internet is! I finally moved the studio, by the way...as Brando said (and Conrad too) "The horror...the horror..." So as you might expect, things haven't been going quite as I'd have wished on the recording front. But I WILL preservere and I WILL kick ass in the near future, you betcha. Just watch my dust when I get these cords all reconnected and figure a way to get that DAMN CPU to shut up in my mixes! O hohohaaha it's all part of the fun of the producers lifestyle here in the hinterlands...bet ol' George Martin never had this problem, no. At the moment it looks like I'll be running lines from the studio into the closet, then into the next room and into an unused linen closet, I just hope the wires stretch. It's high tech! Thanks for putting up with me and my raving, drop me a line and tell me it's gonna be OK,,,gonna be OK....
LATER, JULY, 2005:
We survived the Blissfest, and loved it! What a cool festival. A lot like the 60's but much better, perhaps the 60's done right at last, a lot of fun for all. Cyn, that amazing Space Witch Vixen, spent most of her time at the fest itself, selling her fantastic artwork (a website to come, I promise!) to the thronging masses, while I went around the Upper Lower Penninsula playing with the Doctors to whoever would listen. Playing at Blissfest itself was a great time, I loved the vibe and anytime there's that many people (check their Blissfest site for details, I only know there were a lotta folks there) it's a great time. I was somewhat overserved at the Surviors Party, but patrons there said we sounded great and I was very happy to get to play at the legendary Legs Inn...another place you should go if you want to have a complete experience of Eccentric Michigan. Check it out if you can!
Kind of a LONG time between entries...ever wonder why I don't have a blog? Hahahah...I might try that if my life slows down anytime soon. Pretty crazy as usual, right now, getting ready for a mini-tour in Upper Lower Michigan and the lovely Blissfest. Cyn will be a featured artist and the Witch Doctors are playing on the last night and at the Survivors Party on the Monday after at the historic and strange Legs Inn in Cross Village. I love it up there. Actually, last month we had a family reunion near there, and it was fabluous. If you're anywhere near, stop in at Legs and marvel at the psychotic folk art, and have some of their fantastic Polish food. Man O man.
Had a wonderful concert this Spring with multimedia artist and songwriter Jesse Richards in Ann Arbor at the Kerrytown Concert House. A full house of wonderful people and an interesting cast of characters playing! Check out Jesse's website for peritnent info. I hope to be helping with her new CD in some way later this year.
Also played on the Ragbirds new CD, which came out to rave reviews, also this Spring. These guys are gonna be huge if there's any justice at all. Be sure to scope their site as well!
And my own next collection of songs will be out fairly soon as well! It's taking a lot more time since I'm writing, singing, and playing everything (with the notatble help of a few good friends),as well as recording and mixing the thing. Chris Goosman sat me down and told me "you can do this...use the force" and so I did and it's coming out pretty well. I'm learning a lot, too. If I only had more studio time!
Not sure if I'll be on the bus for the next Katon tour, or if there'll even be one this year, as he's now working with Detroit Rock Legends "Detroit" (formerly the Detroit Wheels, Mitch Ryder's first band). It all depends on timing and what's happening with my other projects...although I'd hate to miss seeing all my friends in Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere overseas!
Anyway, now I've got this software working again (hopefully) and I will be updating a bit more. Ican hardly do it any less! Heck, maybe I'll even start blogging...
SEPTEMBER 2004: Well, the big news for me is that we're finally getting a SINK in the old farmhouse that Cyn and I are moving into (I'm actually already living there in splendid squalor). Not that that sounds like much, but try living any time without and you'll know what I mean...the wonder of running water!! The other, more amusing news is that we now have a working Pictures Page here, with thumbnail pics you can click on to get a nice full-size without waiting till next week. Please check it out, let me know what you think.
Some changes in the playing scene right now...I signed on with The Witch Doctors and am now playing with Thayrone and his insane band most weekends in the Michigan, Ohio and related areas. Check out his extremely disturbed website at www.thayrone.com and be sure to dig his excellent Bone Conduction Radio Show on a station near you. I'll also still be hopping over to Europe for Mike Katon's next tour, probably in the Spring, and I'll be doing subs for my friends the Juke Joint Johnnies, as well as my very infrequent solo shows, so there's plenty of time to get together this season. As for my new recording, I'm hoping to have all the basic tracks done by the end of next month (he said overconfidently). With tunes like "Everything I Do Is Crap", "The Sea Is Filled With Horrible Fish", and "I Want To Walk In The Dark Naked In The Park With You", this may be the one that actually sends me back to the white white room where life is wonderful all the time and I'll be happy to see the nice young men in their long white coats who smile and tell me they're coming to take me away hahaheyhey. But we'll see...
SUMMER 2004: Summer is nearly over, but I've been so busy that the web has just had to wait. We had an amazing tour out in Europe, cool new venues, really nice new friends (including our super new road manager Manni...what a guy!), and some great playing on the parts of Johnny and of course Mike. I think I did pretty well myself! Much fun was had by all. My life since the tour has been mostly consumed with the move into our new old dilapitated but lovely farmhouse, out on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. The area is beautiful, and the place is charmin', but lots of work for all involved. I'm finally venturing back into the studio for another battle with the next album, dusting off the fuzztones and train whistles, etc., and pressing the Flyers back into action as best I can. So far this new collection of tunes seems more frenzied and whacked out than my last...I'm not sure what that means, but I'll be keeping y'all appraised of the progress more regularly now that my internet access is up to speed. What a pleaure! Much more to come.
SPRING 2004: Well, hey, Spring is here and all kinds of crazy stuff is up again! The new CD "Church Of Dreams" has been out for a few months now and the responses have been absolutely amazing. Thanks so much to all the reviewers, the radio DJs, and my other friends and associates (many in our new links page) who have helped to get this recording to people's ears. And thanks to everyone who's bought a copy or two, what an excellent idea, who knows, maybe this project will actually someday afford me some of those good ramen noodles! What a concept. Really, the positive reaction and the wonderful people I've met in promoting this album have been some of the great things in my life. I'm a happy guy. And the NEXT recording is 3/4 of the way done! Watch out!
In the meantime, I'm packing my bags for my annual tour with Mike Katon...which starts in days, aiee!...looks to be a lot of time rockin' in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, with a weeks foray (hopefully) into the U.K. and possibly a bit of Scandinavia. A great dream gig, don't think I don't kow it! Should be a lot of fun...I'm carrying a secret weapon thanks to Sean from Love Pedals, an amazing box that seems to turn any amp into an SVT. As I've said before, the cat's a genius. It may add a bit of extra crunch into an already crunchy situation, come check it out if you're around a show.
Then after I get back, it'll be a combination of frantic CD mixdown and moving....Cyn and I will finally be in our farmhouse space amidst the horses and the chickens and the many dogs...this should be fun indeed! More as it occurs...