Saturday, July 29, 2006

happy birthday to me happy birthday to me happy birthday dear me happy birthday to me

we're heading out on the motorcycle trip at 3 am. i've gone on this trip for a decade. we always leave on my natal birthday. this year's no different. my friends who we'll meet up with in mesquite nv sent me via mail a birthday faster pussycat kill! kill! lunch pail, so i'm carrying toiletries, makeup, medicine in it. it actually packs very well! we have a responsible & kind little gal watching our doggy and cat family; lord, let the ac keep going for her... people have been dying here in the west from the blasted heat. for my bd, i got a beautiful bouquet from my sister; a fringy suede jacket like i've wanted for decades + an elvis book + a handmade bracelet (turquoise & pearl) from mom and dad; and a documentary i've wanted forever from my hubby: piano players rarely play together. we're all going out for thai food now, then tonight before we head out, i hope we'll all watch the movie (prof longhair, allen toussaint, tuts washington). i'll see lots of country on this trip, lots of nice folks, will be homesick, will squeeze in an extra adventure by breaking from the group early to bus it to denver alone for a few days, then fly home. i will miss my dogs, the piano, music, but i will not miss this heat! the weather report is for thunderstorms... i wish we were going to new mexico, but we're not... happy days to all...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

is it you i want, or that automobile...

that's a line from this great song called "secret dan" by austin songwriter & performer jo carol pierce. i just love her music, her sort of punchy, sing-songy, scratchy-friendly drawl, about all the crazy stuff that goes through the heads of wild women... she does this great spoken-word about how all the men she meets are another side of jesus & so she can't pass up kissing even one because she has been set on this particular spiritual path, and, she asks jesus, "what are these boys for and what am i spose to do with them?" ... ... well, this morning i wrote two more songs... i'm no jo carol, but i'm sure enjoying being creative, in my do it yourself kind of way...

life is such a rollercoaster. i don't like rollercoasters.

last night we practiced on a bunch of "new" stuff, plus a few of my new songs, throwing in "popular" songs we never never play (like the doors, that era), then jumped in the paxtons' pool. i was quite filled up & enthusiastic last night, so this is next-morning disappointment i'm feeling, i guess, a little like a hangover without the physical part... anyway, the songs sounded just great with cesareo and jason there again. lately brian p & i've been working on my originals, just the two of us eking out bass & drums, but our percussion guys are tops, really solid & strong, & make all the difference. the eight songs i have are these: 1. i'm a sinner (brian sings); 2. mr right (now); 3. a woman i know; 4. a matter of time (brian sings); 5. i'm not going after him again; 6. drinking singles, drinking doubles; 7. texas gold; and 8. backseat blues. when i get back from motorcycle trip to colorado, it'll be nice to get these songs finished.. i guess i'll go now do the next positive thing, whatever that is, to shake off the ennui... again, i feel if i could get by without my head somehow, my life'd be much easier!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

fattkatt record with merle haggard, bako music stars,... & me. very weird!!!

my friend fattkatt contacted me recently about participating in his latest record project. this is good! i tend to get so wrapped up in my own obsessive musical & other fringy interests, i don't connect much with local artists... last fall with david nigel lloyd, the lysa luna tarot project, now this: it's so great. i was gonna work, too, with greg goodsell on his lords of bako filmlet for the nick belardes contest based on nb's novel (i still ended up casting co-director, setting up fab jon-o panic as the star; greg reported, "jon-o was great!!"), but then was out of town & missed out... i probably would've obscured or normalized greg's vision, anyhow!
the fattkatt thing: this sounds like fun! he originally asked me to sing a song, maybe a broken-heart kinda country thing, i'm thinking, but on the most recent studio list, it has me playing piano!!! i hope that's wrong!!!! because red simpson is also playing piano on this project!!! i think my fingers will get stage fright bad, if i have to go in & play where old red's been playing!!! others involved are (obviously) fattkatt & his band; highly respected steel player larry petree (red's sideman); bakersfield sound legend tommy hays; talented & friendly mento buru/bakotopia frontman matt munoz; paul cartwright & mel lawrence; merle haggard's best friend & guitarist sonny langley; and (are you ready for this???) MERLE HAGGARD!!!! ... i sure hope i'm singing, not tickling the ivories... anyway, you can look at fattkatt's latest at ... my band has a website, too, but it's very rarely updated: ... we have a show coming... on jan 20, 2007. i sure hope there'll be something before then, but we'll see!!! perhaps the wind or a wild hair will blow me away from this backwardsfield place before then!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

"the hotel room in spain had the cutest little water fountain..."

happy birthday, mama! today, she's 29 again, like i will be next week... :) gene taylor, the greatest boogie-woogie piano player around, the king of the 88s, former & current wildman, sent this picture with that caption. gene, whom i've admired so much since my teenage years, turns out is a real jokester. :) he says i'm his "favorite piano student," but i'll bet he just says nice things like that easily: he flat-out radiates good vibes in hilarious writings & pictures like this from the road. right now he's out with his long-time band, the fabulous thunderbirds ( ... he has played piano since childhood & also is one of those geniuses who can play anything (guitar, drums, bass, sax, probably the accordion, lap pedal, harp, even tuba or glockenspiel, i'd think...). he's played with the blasters, canned heat, ronnie hawkins, rick nelson, & grew up, like the alvin bros, playing with legends like big joe turner & t-bone walker... i feel so very fortunate to get to know people like gene, even just a bit. "gene is a national treasure," said skip edwards... that is, skip edwards the fantastic piano player himself! people with this caliber of talent don't have to be so dang nice, but some of them sure are... it gives hope to a jill of all trades like me that if i keep sawing away at it, some day my fingers will play the melodies my brain hears. did i tell you gene sings, too? he has one of those great, wistful, light-touch chuck berry-little walter kind of voices i just loves. he has a cd out on pacific blues & you should get it, if you can.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


well, gosh dang it, none of the photos would upload, with the descriptions below, but here they are separate!

give me one hand loose & i'll be satisfied...

this summer i've heard some good music, but yesterday was tops!! if there's no fan club for bloodshot bill, there should be!! little pedro's downtown LA was nearly EMPTY when this fabulous talent & the formidable ghostwriter (from austin) did their afternoon show... it sure didn't help that it was 110 degrees plus in LA... i stayed with my dear friend in laverne, & when i left today to head back to the barn said, "i'm goin home to bakersfield where it's COOL!!!" (it's only been 108 here...) hotter in smellay than backwardsfield: if this ain't the end of the world, i don't know what is... or maybe i'm talking dumb due to dehydration. anyway, these shots are funny because vanessa & richard (friendly folks i'd just met) (he brother of mummies/phantom surfers/etc. russell kwan) kept saying stuff like, "look intimate! sit closer! look like you're into each other!" when i'd never even met bbill (photos by vanessa reynoso) ... then this nice young man got onstage, and, using just his voice, a beat-up old guitar, a snare, & a PLASTIC bar trashcan for his bass drum, turned into this wildman one man band! playing, stomping, spitting, squealing, hiccuping, wailing his heart out to about six of us, a small but very appreciative audience... i probably scared him with my enthusiasm afterward, but i haven't seen such a fevered rock&roll performance since the first time i saw the blasters or the cramps!! and this was just one skinny, sweating young fellow. the first song he said, "this one's fer you, jenny, it's buck owens," & i couldn't tell you what song it was, but buck never sounded so wild! then about 30 mins in, he started asking for requests, & i yelled "that certain female" & "one hand loose," which he winged quite impressively... it was the closest a person could've gotten to hearing charlie feathers on this earth, with the maniacal energy of hasil adkins: magical... ( or ) ... the other shots are from the talented local artist lysa luna, who is creating a gothish tarot deck... i was happy that she wanted me to be the star, which is symbolic of the future & hope & harmony... lysa uses her human models as the foundation for her work, as you can see... in one shot i'm enlongated, in the other, a bit compressed. thank you again, lysa, for letting me be part of your art! you can see lysa's dark & lovely work at

Friday, July 21, 2006

bloodshot bill lived on a hill never worked & he never will... oops: wrong bill

bloodshot bill, the maniac canadian one-man-band reincarnation lovechild of hasil adkins & charlie feathers (the hyperbole is appropriate for bill's wild style) will play in socal saturday, 4 pm, at little pedro's, 901 e. 1st st, los angeles, and 11 pm at the doll hut, 107 s. adams, anaheim. i want to go!!!!! this guy knows how to keep it simple and plays exhilarating, raging, gutbucket R&R.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

boomchickaboomchickaboomchickacheek musicwriting soothes the savage beast

one of my heroes phil alvin told me one time (an interview: an hour 45 mins via phone & i think i got in four words!!!), "to be part of the river that is music, you have to enter it." so profound! probably especially due to the sonorous, pontificating manner in which he spake it: i almost expected to hear the vesper ring out in that great moment.
but i forget that i can participate in & produce, be part of the inventive activities that make Life a thrill... i think i'm just a spectator, an everything manque, & that last statement's true, but that doesn't mean i can't incubate & actualize, too... we hacks, we salieris, we live, breathe, produce, too!
brian hubby started the engine; he was the catalyst: "stop complaining and do something!!" he told me many years ago when i was grousing about lack of happening CULTure around here... & so now & then i remember his advice & i jump to it again.
we've as a band been playing these fantastic cover tunes for 3-4 years now, great ones by the blasters (phil's band, you know, with most songs penned by bro david 25+ yrs ago), hank ballard, johnny cash, wanda jackson, the hollywood flames, robbie fulks, etc. the songs are fantastic! but then folks say, you can only go so far as a cover band; your options are limited... brian p thinks NO ONE knows these songs in our repertoire, & he will probably read this, so i'll just say, respectfully, & once again, buddy, YOU'RE WRONG!!!! these songs we do are cherished & well-known/-worn ones within a certain musical genre & among its aficionados/ fetishists/ dictators. we certainly couldn't bluff our way into SXSW by submitting as "our song" "riot in cell block no. 9" (speaking from experience here... eek...)
... so i've been in a bit of a pickle lately cause i've been convinced for some time, why add songs to the billions out there when i've nothing to say? all the stories have been told; all the good songs have been written. but now i am realizing more and more, sticking to our repertoire of well-loved oldies limits our possibilities. and my earlier thinking was just a cop-out so that i wouldn't have to try. (that's actually the most important realization!) boo, hiss! i've been a lazy little cheese.
then the clincher: in a recent conversation about "the biz" & exploitation LPs of the 60s, a wise friend told me, "there's nothin' wrong with writin' one-offs. everybody else is doin' it." wow! everyone else is doing it; therefore, i can do it, too. why not??? what makes me so special that i have to judge & thwart my abilities & separate from the herd to the degree that i accomplish nothing in the end???
five-six years ago i was writing songs like a little demon, anyway, without such stultifying self-consciousness, because i was driven suddenly. it's like the switch was flipped & the songs started rolling out. en spiritus, you know? what an exciting time, only rivaled when i published a local underground rag for 3 years... creative toil, ink on hands, blisters on fingers, sweat on brow, pulse fevered, mind dancing with rhymes, rhythms, couplets, melodies, the excitement of productivity & finding just the right word or note!
i had this little four track & i was my own one woman ultra-low-rent brill building, locked in the parlor of our old house for 6-8 hours each night after work. i must've written 150 songs!!! yes, most of it was crap, but here & there i uncovered a tiny gem, a diamond in the rough (apologies for all the cliches, but this ain't no pulitzer, yknow, not even purple prose...)
well, then some a**hole broke into the house & stole all my little recording gear (twice). it really wrecked me. i felt like god was saying, "it's time to stop." they stole my new guitar, too, which i'd got as a gift so that i could play all the (rough) musical parts on all the songs. (bass isn't so bad, but the demon guitar, with its non-linear, insane mad-math structure... well, i rationalized that god did not wish for me to play guitar, either... )
but now i'm back at the songwriting trough, because to be part of the stream of music, you have to enter it, & there's nothing wrong with writing one-offs cause everyone's doing it, so the songs are falling from my brain again & it's bliss. it helps (???) that i've been going through some physical & much self-inflicted mental & spiritual torture: i don't act much out of my comfort zone unless i'm in some kind of pain, lazy consumer that i am... the kick is, some of the songs don't even sound like knock-offs!!! the best ones are like hillbilly opera, though i'm neither hillbilly or operatic, but i did used to love & work for some hillbillyish people & my boyfriend liked to sing roy orbison, & orbison was called the "caruso of pop," so maybe that's it.... or maybe i just type too dang fast & who cares??
maybe someday someone will hear my songs. this guy in florida, johnny fire, recorded one from the old days ("my heart remembers when"). what a thrill to hear someone else's interpretation! (it sounded kinda like "see you on the other side" by australian 80s newwaveabilly brian briggs.) brian p's been nice enough to record some of my songs with me & his creative input is making them really pop with possibility.
today, i birthed two more. plop!
aahh... music. without music, life would be an error... i didn't write that; i knocked it off. :)
ad astra, ad infinitum, ad maiorem Dei gloriam