Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, March 26, 2005 ]


My hero

Friday night's Steve Earle show was fantastic, as expected. Loud, righteous and rowdy. Combine that with the fact that I spent the evening with some great friends, and the fact that the Wisconsin Badgers somehow managed to stay alive in the NCAA tournament, and it was a damn good evening.

Steve Earle has always been a musician who I really admire, and - while the reasons are many - I think the most basic cause for this admiration is that I see something of what I'd like to be, and could be, in what he does. Not just because he plays a style of music that I find endlessly entertaining, and not just because he's passionate and articulate about justice and freedom, but because there's a wonderful streak of romanticism running through his work that I feel I share, for better or worse. Anyone who thinks that he's just a raised-fist bombthrower, or a drunk-and-disorderly rocker, oughta listen to what Steve calls his "chick songs" for examples of the way that even a hardcore troubador (to cop a phrase from the man himself) can't help but sing about love and friendship while playing melodies that would make The Beatles or Smokey Robinson proud. Since 95% of my songs are about love, in one form or another, and since my few attempts at political songwriting have been basically miserable failures, it's not any surprise to me that I'm as attracted to the catchy-and-earnest side of Mr. Earle as much as I am to his modern-day-Woody-Guthrie side, or to his up-to-11 rock and roll. And, at the end of the day, I'm also incredibly happy that we have all three of those things working together. I'm working on it myself.

So give it up for the man. Be glad he lived to tell the story of his battles and demons, and that he currently looks as energized and creative as he's ever been. I know that his story gives me cause to keep on pushing, both artistically and politically, to greet whatever possibilities and obstacles the coming days may bring. What can I say? It's only rock and roll, but I like it.

On the box right now: Various Artists, NEW ORLEANS PARTY, VOLUME 1.


Dove With Claws [10:15 PM]

[ Friday, March 25, 2005 ]


Notas del concierto de Los Lobos

-First off, how fantastic this band is - and has always been- was further cemented to me last night. I'd never seen them perform in their "Acoustico/Folklorico" manifestation, so to hear an evening of traditional (and traditional-sounding) music from a band that also happens to be one of the great kick-ass rock bands of our time was heartening. Not to mention astounding. The music was beautiful, rowdy, sweet and righteous, with all three of Lobos' vocalists - David Hidalgo (the voice of God), Cesar Rosas (30 years on, still as cool as it gets) and Louie Perez (who doesn't sing as much as the others, but whose thin tenor is put to good use on this type of material) - shining at various points. Fantastic.

-This guy two rows in front of us was talking during one of the early songs. As I investigated, from my seat, this all-too-common phenomenon, I at first thought that the bastard was talking on a cell phone. This, of course, is quite possibly the single most disrespectful thing he could've been doing. (I already wasn't a fan of this cat, since during the intermission I heard him say, quite loudly, "It's like sex. It's either good or good-er.") Upon further review, though, I realized that the dude didn't have a cell phone, and wasn't engaging anybody around him. He was simply talking to himself. So I left him alone.

-The show was sponsored by a public radio station, and the opening act was quite possibly the ultimate public radio guy. Acoustic guitar that was played with furious, percussive abandon, songs that were simultaneously sentimental and intellectual, way too many words/chords/guitar licks, and the standard pseudo-thrift-store wardrobe of beat-up sweater, sandals et cetera. He wasn't bad, but it definitely didn't strike the proper chord.

-We were sitting right by the soundboard, and there were no less than 4 different people who came up to the sound guys - one who worked at the theater, the other for Los Lobos - and gave them advice on how the mix should sound. They were relatively nice to these nincompoops, nicer than I would've been. (The words "blow it out your ass" come to mind.)

On the box right now: Los Super Seven, HEARD IT ON THE X.

Peace...or should I say Paz...

Dove With Claws [7:42 AM]

[ Wednesday, March 23, 2005 ]


Hypocrites and bastards

This Terri Schiavo stuff has me almost too furious to speak. This is as outrageous a travesty as the right wing has ever perpetrated, from the heaven-and-hell rhetoric to the manipulation of legal avenues that will ultimately prove fruitless anyway. This is pure political grandstanding, and the motherfuckers who now control the Republican Party have proven that they have even less shame than I previously thought. They don't give a flying fuck about Terri Schiavo, or anybody else in her situation, and to imply anything else would be farcical, if it wasn't so dastardly and offensive. I can only hope that the Republican Party will further be rended by this charade, between the small-government, leave-me-alone libertarians and the fundamentalist Christian right. All I can say right now is...FUCKERS!!!

On the box right now: Geto Boys, THE FOUNDATION. Found a cheap copy of this new album from H-town's original gangstas. Better than I thought it would be. Favorite line so far: "They say the Beatles was the biggest/Well, fuck Paul, and the rest of y'all!" Don't worry, they just playin'.


Dove With Claws [12:31 PM]

[ Tuesday, March 22, 2005 ]



To paraphrase the line about NRBQ, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who think the Drive-By Truckers are one of the greatest rock and roll bands in the world, and those who haven't heard them. For either group, their new DVD ("THE DIRTY SOUTH: LIVE AT THE 40 WATT"), filmed at the record-release gigs for their last album, is as powerful a reminder as any. Anyone who likes their rock and roll both passionate and greasy will dig the shit out of this. Highly recommended.

On the box right now: John Doe, FOREVER HASN'T HAPPENED YET. Three tracks in, already his best solo album.


Dove With Claws [8:10 PM]

[ Sunday, March 20, 2005 ]


Subconscious non-sequitur

From a dream last night, the context of which I don't remember:

"When would he possibly have seen Mick Jones' dick?"

(For any who don't know, Mick Jones was in The Clash.)

On the box right now: Rancid, a bunch of tracks I uploaded in the service of creating a mix from the band, one of the great rock groups in the world right now.


Dove With Claws [7:51 AM]