Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thurston Moore's Blog

Why I gotta be so tired? I want to geek out over Thurston Moore's Blog. That's right, go geek out yourselves, and then maybe, once I get to read ANY of it, we can talk about it.

Folk Alliance 2010

Well folks, at this point we may be saying goodbye to the dream of successfully completing NaBloPoMo. I may have to pick a different month and try again. I will say, though, that it has been really fun writing more, and I more than likely will be blogging a bit more regularly as a result of my efforts.

So, the International Folk Alliance Conference was this last weekend. It kind of makes my brain hurt to think about explaining what Folk Alliance is to all of you, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Folk Alliance (click on title above to go to their official website) is an international organization devoted to the preservation and continued development of all folk and roots musics. This very much includes Americana, or contemporary singer-songwriter music (the two categories in which I would place K.C.), as well as pretty much any other rootsy genre you can think of. They have a number of conferences every year, the large, international one (AKA the one I just attended), and five smaller, regional conferences in the fall. The conferences consist of panel discussions/workshops during the daytime hours, and showcase performances at night. The first part of the evening is filled with "official" showcases (artists selected by a jury to showcase at the conference), and the later hours (starting post-10pm and going until as late as 3am) consisting of "guerrilla" showcases that happen in hotel rooms. K.C. and I have been known to play as many as 8-9 guerrilla showcases at one conference, in addition to the official showcase (we've been lucky enough to have one of those at the last 5 conferences we've been to, regional or international). It's a very tiring thing.

This year was inspiring on a number of levels, which is all the more wonderful given that I didn't expect it to be at all. The folk world can be as sanctimonious and full of itself as any other sect of the music world, and many days I feel like I've pretty much met my threshold with that; many days leading up to the conference especially. I was convinced I would not have a good time.

I was proved wrong however. The morning of the first day of the conference K.C. and I went to breakfast with our friend Michelle, who has a great management company called Market Monkeys, and as we were getting ready to leave, a couple of guys walked into the restaurant who I recognized almost immediately. They were none other than Robby & Char Rothschild, two fabulous musical gentlemen that I had the privilege of going to college with. They now tour as a duo called Round Mountain, and they were in town for Folk Alliance as well. Robby and Char are quality individuals as well as quality musicians, so it was really great to see them again. I got to hear them play a couple of showcases in the days following, as well as have another fabulous breakfast in their company. Please check them out if you get a second.

Then, on Saturday night, we had a really amazing night of music. We had three showcases that were all great, two of which were in-the-round with other artists. One of these in-the-round sessions was with our friends Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus (as well as our friend Jeff Talmadge). Jim always insists that I play lead guitar on his stuff when we're in the same room together, and it's something that I need to do a lot more, just to get whipped into shape as a guitarist. I really, really enjoyed myself, and K.C. and I were sounding great together as well. It was the first of three great showcases we got to play that night, and I had a blast.

This is all a bit gushy and cheesy, but I can't really portray it any other way and still feel I'm being honest. I am really enjoying what we do right now, especially the performing part. That's a good thing...I ultimately enjoy writing and recording a lot more than I do performing, and the writing and recording parts I only really get to do with Dr. Pants or one of my other projects. So it's a really refreshing thing to be enjoying performing more, to feel like I'm coming into my own more as K.C.'s guitar player, to feel like I'm making more of a contribution. It's a good, good thing.

It helps make the ginormous amount of work we're doing now worth it, as well. In case you haven't heard, K.C.'s new record, ORCHID, came out today. We are working REALLY, REALLY hard to make sure it gets the attention it deserves, and if you go read the reviews it's getting on iTunes, you'll see that there are a lot of other folks out there who think it deserves attention as well. If you listen to it, hopefully you'll agree.

Okay, that's all I've got right now. More info about JiveWired.com and my new radio show coming soon.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ho Hum, Another Placeholder

This is, like, the worst month ever for me to try NaBloPoMo. There's way too much going on that is occupying my mind. I guess overall, that's a good thing, but it frustrates me that I don't have time to process anything that's happening to me in order to actually write about it.

I will say this: some really remarkable stuff has happened this week at Folk Alliance, and I fully intend to write about it when I get some time to sort out what I want to say.

That is all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Unsure Of How To Approach This

This may sound like the dumbest statement ever, but I'm really not sure how to blog about music in the middle of a music conference. It seems counter-intuitive. It feels like it would somehow damage my ability to "take it all in". I want to process everything that's going on before I write about it. I may not even end up writing about much of it in the end, either, because I'm here primarily to help K.C. promote her music, and not to really be a blogger/media person. I hope that someday I get to come to one of these conferences strictly in that capacity...and I have a feeling I probably will. I won't say any more about that, for risk of sounding presumptuous and full of myself (or perhaps full of someone else). I do think that if I were here solely as "media" I might feel better prepared to engage it in such a manner.

More later.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Just Don't Know. Too Tired.

Can't think of anything music-related to say here right now. So I won't. I'm sure more will come tomorrow and throughout the weekend when I am in a more musical spot.

Maintaining the NaBloPoMo, though, even if it's just a placeholder.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adjusting My Bad Attitude, A Little Bit At A Time

So, K.C. and I just arrived in Memphis at the site of what will be the International Folk Alliance Conference, starting Wednesday. We are here early. Folk Alliance is an interesting beast...I am not really a folk music guy at heart (solidly a rock guy, push comes to shove), so my bad attitude towards things I'm not ultimately committed to gets tested at Folk Alliance events sometimes.

However, I already have had some really good attitude-adjusting stuff happen today, so we can hope that there's more to come. My friend Kyle, who rode out here with us, played me some stuff from his iPod that really kicked my ass, and totally threw a wrench in my "I'm cynical about your uber-cool indie music that you like so much, even though I secretly, desperately want to be able to love and appreciate it" thing that I hold on to way too tight most of the time. For instance...

I heard Deerhoof for the first time, and it was awesome. I heard a band called the Books, specifically a piece called "Enjoy Your Worries, You May Never Have Them Again" that totally blew my mind. It was the kind of experimental music I wish I could hear more of. Finally, he played me a track by Elbow called "Grounds For Divorce" that couldn't be beat.

Exciting stuff. Gives me faith that I am not too old/too crotchety/too whatever to still find and enjoy new, amazing music. I hope to find some more of it this weekend, but I may have to adjust a bit further than I feel ready to, attitude-wise, to not feel irritated by the lack of rock by week's end...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some Badassery From My iPod on Shuffle

The soundtrack to doing dishes this afternoon:

THE GREETING SONG-RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS (This one really kicked my ass)

Appropriate to end on a song about a holiday that is not the holiday that today is (I REALLY enjoyed typing that sentence).

More tomorrow, kids.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fell Off The Wagon/The Mixtape Jones Radio Hour on JiveWired

Fell off the wagon on the NaBloPoMo tip yesterday. It was a big day, what with the first of 2 K.C. Clifford release concerts and all. It was soooo great, though...I wish so much that we could take this band we've assembled all around the country to play for all of you, because they're absolutely fantastic. Of course, I wish that I could bring Dr. Pants all across the country to play for you as well, because they are also fantastic. Everybody just go buy a shitload of CDs and give them to your friends so we can afford to tour these bands, okay?

Meanwhile, the music of this weekend, K.C.'s music in its fantastic, full-band form, infects me, as well as the music of Ben Bedford (& his lovely wife Kari Abate-Bedford) & 3 Penny Acre (our opening acts, last night & tonight, respectively). I find it hard to think about any other music. I AM really excited about something that's coming up, though, and I want to share that with you right now.

A few of you may be aware of a music/social networking site called SonicJive.com. Dr. Pants has a page there, and SonicJive has been very good to us. As I'm sure Mike (the owner/founder) would tell you, though, SonicJive in its current incarnation doesn't really do enough...it doesn't meet the needs of the indie musician in 2010 in the way that I, or Mike, or many other musicians might want it to. So, Mike has been revamping the site for an imminent relaunch under the name JiveWired.com. I, for one, am really stoked about it. It will have all sorts of new and amazing tools for the indie musician, including EPKs (Dr. Pants is going to be an EPK guinea pig, and I'll be writing about that process tomorrow or the next day). They also will have their own radio/podcast network, and I, David/Mixtape Jones, will have a show (!!!). I am so thrilled, guys. I have been frustrated with the limitations of my Blip.fm show for a while now (mostly the fact that I have to do it live, and therefore it's really difficult to keep a consistent, scheduled show, but also the limitations of Blip and their online library), and can't wait to be free of some of those constraints. I may do shows on Blip occasionally after this (because it's fun to just spontaneously Blip stuff, to kind of "cross-promote" my JiveWired show and to continue to promote Dr. Pants), but the JiveWired show will be an honest-to-God, weekly show that will happen until they find some reason to throw me off the air (not that I plan on giving them any). At this point I plan on my show being a rock show that leans towards the indie side (whatever that means these days...I am gonna try and play good, cool stuff consistently, both new and old), but I may also dip into the folk/acoustic arena some, since I have such a significant foothold in that world through working with K.C. We shall see. This blog will most likely relocate to a JiveWired-powered blog page as well, but you should still be able to follow/subscribe to it in all the usual ways. I'll keep you posted on all of these developments as they continue.

I can't explain how stoked I am. I have high hopes for JiveWired.com, and I hope many of you will come join me in helping it have a successful birth into the world. Meanwhile, if you're in OKC, and you don't have a ticket for the K.C. Clifford show tonight...better get one quick. We were turning people away by 7:45 last night and it was standing room only.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

K.C. Clifford CD Release Concerts This Weekend

I have no idea what to blog about today, other than that this weekend my wife (K.C. Clifford) is doing a two-night CD release concert here in Oklahoma City. Her new album is called Orchid, and it is most definitely the best album I've ever heard by someone that I am personally connected to. Some of you, I'm sure, will cry "bias!", but once you hear the record, you'll recant such rash judgments. If you don't think it's one of the best singer-songwriter records of 2010, you're not listening to the same record I am, I promise.

I'll post links and so forth where you can buy it once it actually comes out for real (the nationwide street date is March 2nd...only the lucky folks in Oklahoma City who come to the shows get to buy it before then).

We'll also have the first single, "Broken Things", up on Blip.fm soon, and hopefully on Pandora.

This event has consumed my life for the past week or two, so I'm glad it's happening tomorrow. This is only the beginning of a year of amazing things though, I'm sure. It's an exciting time to be K.C. Clifford's husband.

K.C. Clifford Celebrates the Release of "Orchid"
The Blue Door, Oklahoma City
2805 N. McKinley
Friday, 2/12 & Saturday, 2/13
$15, 8pm

Buy tickets for the shows at The Blue Door Website. Friday night is basically sold out...so come Saturday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm Gonna Be On Sound Opinions This Weekend.

No kidding, seriously. I sent in an email for their Valentine's show. Then I got an email back that asked if I wanted to talk to Jim & Greg on the air. Then I sent an email to them that said, "Yes." Then they called me and I told them about my favorite song for "setting the mood" on Valentine's Day. Then I got an email today telling me they were going to use my call on the show.

I have to admit, I was REALLY nervous when I talked to them. As off-base, shortsighted and cantankerous as I think they can both be sometimes, I kind of look up to these guys. They are of my ilk on some level, and I was actually humbled by how nice they were to me on the phone. To make my nerves worse, when I got on the phone with them, I was on a cordless phone, it was staticky and I had to change phones (and tell my story all over again). I walked into the kitchen to get on the hardwired phone and immediately knocked a bag of groceries off the counter, which prompted Jim DeRogatis to ask, "We're not tearing apart your kitchen, are we?" He DID ask me about whether I lived anywhere near Wayne Coyne, though, and I could happily say that I lived quite close to him.

Listen to the show, whether on your local affiliate or through podcast. I'm David from Oklahoma City. That's how you'll know it's me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Remorse About the Entirety of 6th Grade (Part 3 In a Series)

There are probably many folks out there who don't have remorse/regret about the music they spent their time and money on in the 6th grade. Many of you probably feel that you can chalk up any ill-advised musical choices made at that age to the age itself. This may very well be true...I might be completely justified in letting myself off the hook. And as I alluded to in the last post, it is quite possible that the very musical ugliness that I consistently ingested in 6th grade finally pushed me over the edge in terms of ABSOLUTELY having to search out SOME sort of alternative...

Ultimately, I feel like 6th grade was kind of this wasteland in between my elementary school years (which, in spite of the REO Speedwagon rant yesterday, were, more than anything, about discovering pop music and its existence rather than about honing my tastes and voyaging into multiple unknown musical horizons) and the rest of middle school, which really found me stretching out a bit from my firmly established top 40 origins. The ONE EXCEPTION to my 6th grade stagnation was Run-DMC, who, it must be said, DID in fact hit the top 40 that year (so even though they effectively introduced hip-hop into my musical universe, they weren't really much of an aberration).

Songs that I wish I could take back the hours I spent hearing/listening to them in 6th grade:
"On My Own" by Michael McDonald & Patti Labelle
"Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung (Many of you will probably attempt to assign some sort of value, sentimental or otherwise, to this song. I can't enjoy it. I haven't been able to enjoy it since around the 84th time I heard it in the 6th grade).
"(I Just Died) In Your Arms Tonight" by Cutting Crew
"I Knew You Were Waiting For Me" by Aretha Franklin & George Michael
"The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby & The Range (sorry, Nathan)
"Head To Toe" by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam
"Stuck With You" by Huey Lewis & The News (I may have had kind words for "The Heart of Rock & Roll", as well as other tracks from the Sports album, but after that the dude fell off. Big time.)
"No One Is To Blame" by Howard Jones
"Talk To Me" by Stevie Nicks (This song was so overplayed it need NEVER EVER BE PLAYED AGAIN ANYWHERE EVER.)

There are other songs I could add to this list, for sure. "That's What Friends Are For" is a strong contender as is "Say You, Say Me". Of course, during this time, Bon Jovi & Whitesnake were busy ushering in the late 80's butt rock explosion, but ultimately I would argue that the butt rock and metal that I gravitated towards in the next couple of years led to further expansion of my musical tastes, and not to further stagnation.

I really can't emphasize enough that 6th grade was a "darkest before the dawn" moment musically. 7th grade brought Led Zeppelin, a renewed interest in the Beatles, and my introduction to the Dr. Demento Show (as well as lots of butt rock). These things would, for all intents and purposes, fuel the expansion of my musical horizons for years to come.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Remorse About REO Speedwagon (Part 2 of a Series)

So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I started listening to "America's Top 40" with Casey Kasem when I was about 7 or 8 years old. For the first two years or so, it was a grand experience, and something that introduced me to music that I still enjoy (no, I'm not kidding. Not only Michael Jackson and Prince, but "Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder and "One Thing Leads To Another" by the Fixx, too). Somewhere around 4th or 5th grade, though, something started to go awry. Maybe even 3rd grade. Somewhere around there, the music started to go south, REALLY fast.

Some time in 2009 my wife and I were on tour, and we were spending a lot of time in the car listening to XM radio (the previous owners of our car had failed to cancel their subscription when they sold it, and we were reaping the benefits). The 80's station, though not consistent, did offer a great many moments of enjoyment. On Sundays, they rerun "America's Top 40" shows from the 80's. We sat ALL THE WAY THROUGH one of these reruns, and it started to really get painful around number 15 or so. We went all the way to the end, though, because, as I said at the time, "Well, we've come this far..." The broadcast must have been from some time in early 1985, because the number one song was "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon.

That particular composition falls into a category of song that I wish I could eradicate entirely from my early life, that category being "Songs I Heard Too Many Damn Times That Weren't Any Good To Begin With" (this category will from here forth be referred to as SIHTMDTTWAGTBW). I am filled with GREAT REMORSE about the time lost to said REO Speedwagon song, as well as many other SIHTMDTTWAGTBW's. I want those hours back, even if just to listen to "When It's Love" by Van Halen a few more times (yes, I think that song's better. Sorry if you strongly disagree, but in terms of power ballads, it f'ing buries the Speedwagon tune), or even "Mother's Talk" by Tears For Fears.

My devotion to "Top 40" was pretty unshakable, though, I must admit. I have a clear memory of being at some sort of Sunday afternoon Cub Scout activity (probably circa '85 or '86) and being really pissed off that I was missing my show. I remember getting in the car with my dad, immediately turning on the radio hoping that there was still some of it left to hear, and being so disappointed when the strains of "Oh Sheila" by Ready For The World came through the speakers. I knew that song couldn't possibly be in the top 10 that week because of how long it had been out. I knew I had missed my show entirely (ultimately, this anecdote is REALLY telling in regards to how much I enjoyed my Cub Scout & subsequent Boy Scout activities...in other words, very little). Maybe I want my hours involved in Cub/Boy Scouts back, too. I can't say for sure. I do know that my exclusive devotion to top 40 pop music continued through 6th grade, and then the system started to break down. It had to, because 6th grade was probably the worst year yet for for the top 40 in my short life, containing myriad SIHTMDTTWAGTBW's...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Remorse About Michael Jackson (Part 1 of a Series)

So, most of my gradeschool years were spent in a world where top 40 pop music was the only thing around. This wasn't necessarily my fault, I just didn't know well enough to go looking for something better, and up until around 4th or 5th grade, it really was something I enjoyed. 6th grade was a time when things took a major turn for the worse, both musically and socially for me, but more about that later.

As I'm sure every kid my age did, I obtained a copy of "Thriller" by Michael Jackson for Christmas in 1983 (when I was 8). It was on vinyl, of course, because I didn't have my own stereo of any kind yet, and my parents didn't have a tape deck in the house, only a turntable. We played that record a LOT, as I'm sure most kids did once they got their hands on a copy.

"Thriller" became a part of my life not because of MTV (as I'm sure it had with most people) or listening to top 40 radio (lite-rock radio was as far out as we got most of the time in my house), but specifically because of America's Top 40 with Casey Kasem (broadcast, fortunately enough, every Sunday on the lite-rock radio station from noon to 4:00 pm). As soon as I realized that this show existed, I was glued to it every week (starting somewhere, I'm pretty sure, around the fall of 1982). I was introduced to Michael Jackson through this medium, as well as numerous other artists of that time that I still have a great fondness for.

At some point, however, my fondness for Michael Jackson soured, and I jettisoned my prized copy of "Thriller". If I remember correctly, I donated it to a church garage sale some time in high school. I don't have any idea why I did this, except that MJ had fallen out of my own personal graces ("Thriller" was the only album of his I ever owned to begin with) and I was definitely starting to shave off bits of my music collection that I didn't really think I would enjoy long-term.

My remorse about this is clear; I'd really love to have my vinyl copy of "Thriller" back, especially now. It was still in pretty good shape when I got rid of it, too, which means that it would still be in good shape now (I was wise enough by high school to know how to take good care of my records). Perhaps, someday, I'll come across a copy of it in a used vinyl shop and know, in my heart, that it's my copy, waiting to be reclaimed.

Damn! This NaBloPoMo Thing is Hard.

So, because the clock says it's after midnight, I technically failed to post a blog on February 6th. I had an idea for one, but because we were on the road for most of the day, it didn't happen. I will try and post two tomorrow (as in "after I sleep"), but we'll see. At this point I only have an idea for one. It's an every day thing though, so it shouldn't have to be a master's thesis or anything...

Anyway, hopefully this is the last time this will happen. One can always hope.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kansas City (Hey Hey Hey Hey)

The wife and I are driving to Kansas City later today for a gig, and it influences my ponderances...

So, I've never been a big fan of songs about towns (at least, songs about towns that mention the name of that town specifically in the title). "Kansas City" as recorded by Little Richard (and later the Beatles) is an exception, but ultimately I think by a certain point in history this mode of songwriting had been worn through, and efforts along these lines should have ceased.

It would probably be unwise to try and convince some of my friends in Folk Alliance that this is the case, however.

Even R.E.M., though, one of my favorite bands on the planet, has had less than stellar luck writing songs about specific towns (or referencing specific towns), especially lately. "Leaving New York" from their unfortunate "Around the Sun" album was iffy at best, and "Houston" from their most recent album "Accelerate" was quite possibly my least favorite track on the album. There is something to this, I think.

Maybe I'd feel differently if there was a song about Oklahoma City in particular that was worth a damn (I say "worth a damn" as if there are several lackluster songs about my fair town out there that somehow didn't cut the mustard...there are not). Oklahoma City, of course, did get a shout out in Huey Lewis' "The Heart of Rock & Roll", which, depending on your disposition, is either an utterly worthless piece of 80's crap OR, as I like to think, a mildly fun, non-offensive (musically) song that manages to transcend the decade in which it was created just enough to still enjoy.

Of course, it helps that my wife put it on a mix CD for me the first year we were dating (it was actually on a trilogy of mix CDs she made me all at once, to try and "catch up" for the fact that I had already made her 3 or 4 by that point and she had managed to only scrape together one). These CDs were a masterpiece of sentiment and content, if only because they almost refused to apologize for a cheesy selection, or a seemingly outmoded selection (the Huey Lewis track being just one example). I also continue to allege that these CDs ultimately (whether through conscious or unconscious intention) conveyed the message that this woman who would become my wife wanted to be with me forever, deep down, and that any conflict about this that she showed on the surface would eventually be resolved in my favor. My wife, of course, says that she has no idea what I am talking about, and that she was just trying to make some good CDs. Whatever.

At some point this month, I might share the tracklisting for these mix CDs, so that you can all experience the grandeur of them as well.

I suppose what all of this proves (watch me tie this together, or try valiantly) is that context again ultimately rules the day. I mostly like "The Heart of Rock & Roll" because of the context it exists in for me (a pleasant, guilty-pleasure style surprise in the middle of a 3 CD tour de force created by the woman I love most in the world just for me), but if I hear another folk singer sing some song about some Texas town that treated him bad (or good) I might shoot him.

Then again, if I analyze this further, that could all turn out to be a bunch of crap.

It's going to be an interesting month.

NaBloPoMo?? TIES??

I am about to attempt something unprecedented, at least in my world. I am going to attempt to post a blog entry every day in February (at least, all the days that are left).

The theme suggested by the National Blog Posting Month website for February is "TIES". I'm not sure what that means (what color necktie did you wear to work today, Bob?), but I'm going to allegedly say that my entries will be related how I am "tied" to music, in every way I can think of. It permeates my existence inextricably.

Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.