Tuesday, July 29, 2008

feliz cumpleanos from the home of the world's largest mineral springs

tomorrow, happy bd to dear little laurel & to me... our dear sweet mama had her bd just last wk. my family is specifically leo- & generally summer-heavy birthday-wise: more than 10 between july & sept 1st.
on this trip, we have all loved lava hot springs the other day & thermopolis today; we're glowing- fresh, soft as noodles. friends are true here, the scenery's stunning, & boy, once again, i get to travel & see this big big country. my family says they'll sing me happy bd tomorrow from bakersfield & i'm to listen for their wishes of good cheer. (wish they hadn't said that.) yes, times are good & i am grateful, & i'm so happy to see b so happy out on his motorcycle, which he loves like i love music. and i miss home.
enough sobbing from me. wish i knew a good joke to put in here. i can only think of one of my favorite exchanges from "horse feathers":
thelma todd: oh, professor, you're full of whimsy!
groucho: can you notice it from there? i'm always that way after i eat radishes...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

googly googly goo goo

...just delivered the drums to B2 studios for tomorrow's recording, so now of course can't sleep. on the simpsons one time, homer was obsessively googling his name, drawing an embarrassed laugh from many (me, anyways). when i just googled my spouse, this pic is what came up: when i 1st went to tow-headed b's home, i espied an LP bearing his name & a pic of a sneering flat-topped blond kid on a late-50s hot wheel. "oh, NO," i thought, heart sinking, yet weirdly satisfied. "ANOTHER musician!" but turns out b's cousin did A&R for a record co in NYC & in the rockabilly-new wave 80s, had sent him the LP, the US release of the above, as a joke. b, despite having a sonorous speaking voice & open-minded love of most music i love, can't carry a tune in a box, as he'd tell you (you can find the musical (aussie) bb's playing-chicken-w/-train tune "see you on the other side" online) ... when i googled dad, no pix came up - ironic since our dad's always been handsome as a movie star (he most resembled gene kelly, or the husband/dad in the sears catalog). as a kid, i'd get mad & jealous when gals would swoon after him, tho neither he nor mama cared. blazers manuel asked me more than once if clean-cut dad had ever been an astronaut: he's that upright & square-jawed-looking. but no pic online - just his history website (see link at R) as well as a ref on AWAD - & THAT is VERY cool!!!... a friend recently asked, when i told him dad's family was nor-italian, why i wasn't blonde. well, here's a pic of our mama from when she was in college choir - she's the lovely, naturally tan one w/the shy smile. :)
when i look up my sis, angelina jolie in "gia" comes up. our angie is a martial-arts pro who illustrated a book about buck owens shortly before owens' death; she worked dang hard on that thing, & we're all proud of her talent & dedication. but no pix exist online of her from that gig anymore, not a one!! (she's cute, fellows, & she can cook, too, & she's brilliant. and she will kill me if she reads this!!)
when you look up my birth name, seamy sites, asian teens, & some leftist articles come up, only one category being me. (hint: tho i've had many a rough ride in my life, i've always pretty much been a goody two-shoes, really.)
as chico's asked, when we gonna cut the wattamelon???
well, i've slowed down enough to hit the bed, so i shall. don't let the bed bugs bite ya or the good lord smite ya. :) i mean that in the most respectful way, too...

Monday, July 21, 2008

music all weekend in smellay: 10 riffs, zero sleep

1. too tired to sleep. so here are some pix.
2. i didn't get my song to phil alvin because our dang computer cd burner BROKE!!!! ARRGHHHH!!! oh well... i tossed a band packet in his car. phil h says he now will think i'm a stalker. :) he'll get it, maybe he'll throw it out the window, either way, i can't much care: i did my piece. :) and candye kane & others liked my song, so really, i can die happy now, if i think about it much. :)
3. i get spooked when people comment on my makeup. and then i put on 2x as much. sometimes 10x as much. i'm sure it's deeply psychological. but will SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHEN IT'S ALL OVER MY FACE?!?! i would do that for you!!!! i guess i need a wardrobe AND makeup consultant. would someone please volunteer?????
4. i just love ruben & manuel. i've known them for 17 YEARS!!! manuel asked me to play on his christmas record. what a wonder that will be: xmas songs AND manuel. :) i could nearly cry, just thinking about it. i loved watching manuel watch others this wkend, his love of music & people, his child-like face: he's full of love & music, which are one when the world's right, i think.
5. skip heller & art fein look like they're related. luann & i commented on this & skip deadpanned, "we ARE related. we are both sons of zion."
6. it was great fun to hang out all wkend w/different people, but i find that when i speak & people laugh at just the sound of my pipsqueaky voice, i get all wound up & start acting like a clown. i know there's balance in all this... & i'll find it!!!! meanwhile, it IS fun to make people laugh. :) i like that far more than being told i look like cleopatra or am i "hooked up" or scary stuff like that...
7. donna once again put me up at her nice place in laverne (site of The Last Drink 13 yrs ago) & we thrift-shopped & watched "shaun of the dead" & ate at casa jimenez & then i saw them off when they all went to see "the dark knight"... & realized again how fortunate i am to not just still be alive, but to have adventures & friends & so many people whom i love & who even love me. :) it's all icing, when a soul really should be pushing up daisies, so i gotta remember that.
8. manuel doesn't merely sing, but soars, his voice as much an instrument as his earthy & skilled guitar-playing (& bass: fri night, his plus-sized fingers brought in the walk on "tequila" like laughing thunder from the heavens!!!). so it was shocking to go from the beauty of his pipes to the blasters show, at which phil alvin performed for 90 mins w/laryngitis!! people plied him w/whisky, & the poor guy lost any self-protective inhibition & started singing anything, no matter how larynx-ravaging, which was painful to watch & hear. the good part was, he pattered a lot more between songs, infamously weird & smart, such a character, w/a generous spirit toward the audience i've never really noticed much, but really appreciated this time, & he played more, in his intense & authentic vernacular folk-blues style. his force of personality & uniqueness make the blasters inimitable, i think, & i'm far from alone on that. :)
9. THANK YOU, jeff, for putting me on the blasters show list. jeff puts on super live music shows & is a really nice fellow... a texan, you know. :) i think that's what does it. unlike my bro-in-law, i've rarely met a texan i didn't just like, but love...
10. the midnight drive home wasn't bad. my night vision cooperated for the most pt & when i dropped into the valley, it spread out wide-black & velvety-clear, & w/the chuck berry b-side cassette music sailing, i was filled w/that wondrous feeling of aliveness...
then i rolled down the window & the magic was choked by the stench of dairies. welcome home. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

music music music music music music music

here's a cell ph pic of skip heller from when he played at narducci's recently. at the end of the night, he said, "jenny, why don't you come up here & sing 'fujiyama mama'?" my brain tried to leap out of my head, but i did it, getting the funny looks & smiles that tell me things are going ok. :) i'm a very fortunate person to get to do stuff like that & flattered skip asked me to sing. movie-star-looking skip plays another free narducci's show on july 31, but i'll be gone, so please go in my place. he speaks guitar more fluently than just about anybody! very impressive. :) (philly, you need to go in my place!!)
this wkend i hope will bring travel to smellay to hang out w/friends & MUSIC!! fri night my dear old pals ruben & manuel of blazers, as well as many others, will play a jam session at the elks lodge montebello. sat is the upland blues fest w/phil alvin's doppelganger white boy james & many more. sunday's the safari sam's brunch americana, w/the blasters coming on at 9 pm!!!! i'll get to spend time (what a weird expression) w/one of my dearest friends in this world, & i hope her genius children, too. :)
hope i have the nerve to give phil alvin the song i wrote... maybe i should not... but writing this, i sense that i will... know that i will... (does that process ever happen to you??) why not? "better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't done." ciao ciao ciao for now, for now, see you down the road, & how... :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

21 days in jail, 24 hours in bakersfield

1. a few weeks ago, the local paper ran a piece about my favorite day in bakersfield. i thank jennifer self for featuring it so nicely. you can read it by clicking on the pic. not the most flattering pic, but a fun one, my friend bridgette's gotten some biz from the article, so it's been successful. :)
2. many people saw the article. i've been surprised by how many, & every person's been nice. :) we were going to circle-K the other night when a black-&-white slowed to a near-stop right in front of us. being real spiritual at the moment, i immediately began to gripe about how "they" can drive however they want, we didn't do nothin' wrong, etc. we got out of the van & the officers did, too, & one waited for me. uh-oh, i thought, but he smiled, so i did, too, & he said, real friendly, "aren't you that woman in the paper? i told my partner while he was driving just now, hey, there's that girl from the paper!"
3. being in bakersfield is kind of like being in a bad relationship: it'll often let you down, but you stay w/it because it's cheap, familiar, & at times surprises you by being a real good time.
4. bakersfield's variously called bako, buckersfield, bakerssippi, bakersfailed, & two i lay claim to from my underground rag days, bakingfield & backwardsfield.
5. buck owens' crystal palace has the best sound in the area, but is a little like disneyland, so if you like disneyland, you'll like the palace. i wish to heck they'd feature more americana & country-western music. lately they've been featuring singers from "american idol." then today a KUZZ DJ (station owned by the owens family) said "american idol" singers don't understand country music because (i paraphrase) they don't understand the "real, everyday life" that country music is about. she then played, w/no irony apparent, willie singing cole porter.
6. if you drive out 58 toward the canyon, before you get there you'll see merle haggard's old house to the north, & then the killer kern, about which haggard wrote a song.
7. google "gerald haslam"'s favorite day. haslam is an oildale native & writer who in his article described where be the trout's family's house, the haggard house, & many other historical places, many related to music. interesting stuff!
8. if you have kids, you should take them to CALM, which is a nice place past hart pk where they'll see native animals & plants.
9. i wanted to help promote friends in the article (as well as good eats, free & healthy things to do, &, well, yeah, the band), so took pix w/bridgette @ victorian chiropractic. as i reclined on the table & the young photographer started snapping, i realized, this must be the dumbest photo op choice for a nerdy female musician to put herself in. how unflattering.
10. when the article came out, i called auntie rita & lamented, "they ran a picture of me on my back!" not missing a beat, my aunt replied, "that's good - i bet a bunch of guys'll recognize you that away."
it was just the wrong, yet right thing for her to say.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"when you're happy, play piano. when you're sad, play more piano." - gene taylor

my fingertips hurt, i've been playing so much. a spot of sunshine: the more i play, the easier it becomes, the more fluidly my fingers move, the more they cooperate, the more the ideas bubble, - no, - seep, sometimes weep, sometimes shimmer - on up. i have hope someday i'll be a little brown-skinned white-haired old lady looking a lot like my mama & grandma, wearing too much makeup & some strange outfit, cheery & useful & a pretty darn good pianny player. it seems lately like i don't have to be average or garden-variety forever when it comes to playing piano if i just keep at it. i'll never be the best, & that's never my expectation. but someday, if i keep playing & playing, i'll be able to play what i hear & be fulfilled by it.
for now, i bang & grin & go for the muscle & thrill because i just can't help it, but someday i'll have more to offer musically...
for you piano players, here are some tips i've gotten from some great piano players:
1. gene taylor: look at your hands; look for the "islands;" play left hand patterns while reading, talking to someone, writing, so it becomes natural as breathing; think about what each chord "means" depending on what change you're at.
2. carl sonny leyland: watch the right, not the left hand; don't be afraid to hit some wrong notes - just play them through so you can find the "right" ones; the "blues scale" is bulls**t - the guys in the old days were listening for the sounds of the music.
3. earl pool ball - a lot of times w/his band heybale, he completely lays off the left hand, but still sort of paws or claws at it to keep time, but then brings the left hand in when the music calls for that moment of extra boom! & excitement; in western swing, he plays straight time while the rest of the band swings; playing melody w/octaves really allows the piano to sing out from amidst all the other instruments.
i hope to get some tips from pat "banny" bannister, soon, but i need to call the man... he can run 3rds up & down the keyboard lightning-fast! ... i found out pat played on al hendrix's record, which was so cool. there are some real nice solos on that record! (www.cdbaby.com/alhendrix)
->well, since i started writing this, my folks came over w/cannoli & we had a really nice visit & i went & picked some grapes from the vines & they were just perfect, sweet, tangy, w/a slight crunch... so maybe things aren't as bad as i think. and maybe i better go play some more piano.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

skip heller honky-tonk trio thurs 7/10; dusk devils in studio; this'n'that

1. go see skip's free show, 7:30-10:30 at narducci's (flyer below)
2. we're gonna finally record a live session w/sharon marie end o'this month. whoopee!! then we'll have professional-quality recordings for people who've been asking. :) and thank you for asking, people. :)
3. had such great sound & met wonderful folks at safari sam's sunday, from friendly DJ "texas" jeff to smokey miles, art fein, russell scott, randee & george, & of course birthday boy cody & friends; got to eat brunch (french toast - yumyum); got some dough; i got swung around the dance floor by a big feller named walter who's light on his toes as gene kelly; met & got critiqued by skip heller, who said i need a clavinet, & "you stick to that shuffle & gene taylor thing," & i thought, "well, that's all i got!" - his thoughts on music were prickly but interesting & i appreciated his perspective. & he's gonna get me some recordings of 5 royales (mine were stolen) & the diablos!!!
4. art fein's comment when i told him of skip's critique: "pope catholic?" :)
5. by now, all blasters fans know that bill bateman's back in that band's drummer saddle & jerry angel's joined touring band shurman. best wishes to gentleman jerry!!!!
5. "i'll never swim kern river again"... on a recent 100-degree-plus afternoon, orangy smog & smoke-choked sky like the apocalypse, b wanted to take his motorbike out into the kern river canyon & as we whizzed along that scorching ribbon of tar, brown walls above & angry water below, i started thinking about the men who've recently gone missing in the river. then the signs popped up: "help find beto." "help find gonzalo." :( too often, the people who go under in the "killer kern" are mexican & from southern california. i think when the weather's this miserable, the lure of a cool river dip overrides the fear of drowning. this is the kind of heat that raymond chandler wrote about: "meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks." it's desperation-heat, crazy-making, brutal, brutal, brutal. to want respite from it, no matter what, isn't much different (tho more innocent) than the depressed soul turning to a hit of dope.
6. so many people drown in the kern while trying to save someone else's life. doubly sad. i saw a car pull to the roadside & a brown-skinned man & boy got out. when we circled back to return to bakersfield, i noticed they had edged near the river, carrying long sticks & sad faces. they were searching the reeds for a dead man.
7. can you believe that people here criticize the river's missing & dead? people who blame the river victims remind me of those who blame new orleanians for wanting to stay in their hometown after katrina, or return to it. when you have the money to have a leisurely life, to travel, to conspicuously consume, to move w/out much life-disruption, or to just swim in a swimming pool when you feel like it,... well, it's easy to criticize the people who have to seek out a river or watering hole, who barely scrape by, who live desperately, who don't have the resources to move & start over, & beyond that, to whom many times home is where the heart is, even if that heart resides in a storm-prone delta bowl.
8. am reading harry crews' "car" right now, & if you want something good, go get it.

Friday, July 04, 2008

happy independence day!!!!!!!!!

it's a special day... a movie i recommend is "god grew tired of us." and "1776"!! songs? "man in black," "this land is your land," "american music." food? watermelon, of course!!!!
w/our smog & wildfire smoke, we really shouldn't have fireworks here in bakingfield, but we do, so enjoy safely. i LOVE LOVE fireworks, but increasingly worry about them...
hope everyone who reads has lots for which to be grateful. :) today i'm 13, & i have much. independence: what a concept, & how lucky we are to have it, relative to many on this planet. (some have more, i could complain, but why? not now.) focusing just on music: 7 new songs since home from texas; safari sam's sunday; fun friends to play music w/(read below); dusk devils just reached 3500 myspace friends!! to see, go to www.myspace.com/theduskdevils ... . not too smoothly worded, but i got buttloads of gratitude, in spades, & wish the same for you. :) :) :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

dusk devils at safari sam's this sunday & more live music, too!

also: fattkatt starts up again at the crystal palace on july 9; more info at www.fattkatt.com ... & there's live music 7 nights a wk at trout's/the blackboard stage: www.myspace.com/troutsblackboard