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Tracy Island: News

Thursday - July 31, 2008

Ian & Liza will be performing in the form of The Larch this Saturday evening at Arlene's Grocery on a bill with the Actual Facts at 7, Paula Carino at 8 and us at 9.

I've written a new musing on life, death, illness and mortality in the form of a psychedelic pop tune - "Cold Wind."

It hardly needs to be said that compared to the trail of gigs in the four years preceding, for the last six months we've been re-calibrating in the Wonder-cave, so A) it'd be nice to see you Saturday at The Larch show and B) almost when you least expect it, I promise the next Anagen phase of The LizaSongs Project will be upon us, like Christmas, like your Birthday, like the Future.

Hail Summer
Full of Heat
Let August be thy name
The Beaches Roam
Your hills run down
On Earth as this is our Heaven

Sunday - July 20, 2008

Thank you Dr. J for playing us last Tuesday, July 8 on your School of Rock radio program on 99.5 FM WUDR the radio station of University of Dayton in Ohio.

Even more excitement last week when we WonderWheels went on location to King's County Carburetors for the photo shoot for our upcoming third record. We were so fortunate to be able to use this ideal location, and our absolute visionary Goddess of a photographer, Kristie Lee Dickson , did a beyond superior job. I already have contact sheets in my possession and am so super-pleased.

We were also attended by our fabulous video director James Dean Conklin who has undertaken the multi-faceted process of making a music video happen.

The garage we shot in was so perfect, real and grimy. We all got a little (more) dirty. I don't think of myself as a model, and I could certainly write a dissertation about how telly has increased the importance of how people who make music look out of all proportion, but I think we've developed a pretty great formula for executing these style obligations with grace and good times:

1) Find a totally excellent, visually interesting and unusual location that has a story to tell for itself
2) Get dressed up to the best of your ability
3) Show up, don't stress, and goof around
4) Use an amazing photographer with a naturally great eye who genuinely likes you

Well, it works for us...

Tuesday - July 8, 2008

This is the lull-time in the ebb and flow, this time before the release of our third record... meanwhile our 2006 album MEET THE ANIMAL continues entertain some ears:

Thanks to Radio Crystal Blue for spinning our songs enough to make their Summer 2008 Airplay Chart .

And those lovely Aussies at ZFM not only continue to play our music, they've used an edited clip from Song About a Pigeon on this promo thing - scroll all the way to the end, we're the last piece of music.

Monday - June 30, 2008

You know what's really cool? Saturday night I was at this party having a hard time fitting myself into the overall vibe, wondering what twist of path brought me to be invited to a times square nightclub anyway, when I spotted a friend in the crowd and went over to talk. She introduced me to her husband and he said nice to meet you. Then she told him I was the same person whose record they were listening to the other day, and his whole face lifted and lightened and he said Wow I really love you, and I'm still blown away every time by the connections art enables us to create. I feel so very grateful, thank you for the love.

Monday - June 23, 2008

You see the thing is that I'll never quit; I'll never quit interacting with the world from an intentionally creative, artistic perspective. I may neglect my online persona, sidestep exposure and fail to respond to e-mails inviting me to join online social networks, but I am artist. While I live, where I live, there is art.

Yes, how pretty and idealistic, until the artist's path presents those candyland swamps, and deserts, and lonely narrow rope bridges where you can only navigate the crossover by yourself. It's a tricky thing, really to keep your artist to yourself after the novelty of inspiration has been weathered by all of Spring's changes and challenges. To keep a mystery something you can also depend upon, to keep from dispersal the best thing that you share.

It's Summer now, and there has been an association aligned with my artist for years. We've missed a play or two recently, but now have survived to see a collective rally which I hope is not short-lived. This is all to say that there will be a third WonderWheels record after all, not a moment too soon as further songs and future plans keep more and more coming.

Tuesday - April 1, 2008

What are those flat and numbered objects falling, falling through the air? The cards, the cards and events unfolding, constantly changing. As I said last week by the time anyone realizes how good, be great, be gone, be on to the next thing.

Nothing real to report yet, but hiatuses delay the release of our third as the future grows brighter yet in a rebirth of freedom and creativity. The songs come. My voice is clear. Some places (but not very many) they are throwing money at us. Oh how lucky.

Ready for something less nebulous? Our podmate band The Larch HAS A GREAT BIG SHOW. Thursday, May 8. 7pm at Arlene's Grocery .

Friday - March 7, 2008

24+ other bands can also say the same thing right now: we're heading off to Beefstock VII, be back Monday.

Tuesday - February 26, 2008

Entertainment tonight: Kirsten Williams with Andy Mattina at Googies above the Living Room on Ludlow Street, Lower East Side.

Monday - February 25, 2008

Thank you Radio Crystal Blue for including us in their 2/17/08 broadcast. They aired a live version of "Midnight Lightening" Dan Herman recorded at the Parkside Lounge on 5/30/07.

The Freddy's show last Saturday was amazing. Effortless, very fun and free. Great feeling! One of the very best Plastic Beef experiences.

The Brooklyn vs. Bush syndicate has produced this awesome promo for Beefstock:

Thursday - February 14, 2008

On Saturday, Feb. 23 at Freddy's all four Wheels will be participating in a rock 'n roll fundraiser to get a little cash together ($5 suggested donation) to give to the family of Ronnie Ardito, member of The Shirts who passed away last month from cancer. John Pinamonti will be kicking the night off around 9. The Shirts themselves will play sometime after 10 and we will be the Plastic Beef experience on around 11:30.

Ron Ardito his evolving projects information about his illness

The Shirts - 70's

Tuesday - February 12, 2008

You may recognize two of the actors in this recently aired Brooklyn vs. Bush TV sketch:

Saturday - February 2, 2008

Liza will be guest-hosting Crash Course Karaoke tonight Saturday Feb. 2 from midnight to 2:30am at Kenny's Castaways

Wednesday - January 30, 2008

Wrote a new song: "What You Want." A sister to Joe's song "Holding Hands" that we recorded as Plastic Beef at He's Dead Jim studios in Queens this month. What, you thought all he could do is play the drums? They are both 3 minute garage-y pop songs, a little primitive, but make you feel good.

Tracking "Holding Hands" felt easy to me. Not being in charge, I watched as two handfuls of musicians were invited, shaken and stirred. It was my first experience recording in a digital studio without ProTools recording software. A limit! 24 tracks. I liked loosing the visual component of ProTools - makes you focus on your ears more, and who doesn't enjoy a good sound board all full of dials and toggles?

Mixing is a little more complicated. Running a board mix with drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, 12-string guitar, mandolin, vocals, backing vocals, and I don't know three or four percussion tracks. We had a pretty good mix from recording, one long day of people dropping in and out. Photos exist of the Firefly Backing Choir and the Cheaper By the Half Dozen Percussion Section.

We went back and mixed again last Saturday. I like the fades in and out of the song. I can see though how this way of mixing can easily become obsessive - you can't go back and do a mix like a prior mix and change from there. You have to go back and re-set up the board, select each track's level, eq, panning, effects, and then a board mix means some things actually get laid down there in the mixing process, like if you want an instrument to be featured in a section of the song, an engineer is actually riding a switch to adjust the volume in real time as the mix is recorded.

Speaking of doing things in a different way, here's another post-England story:

We've been back for almost two months. It's deep into the holiday time of December. The multi-colored lights are festooning the living room with care, and we're cocoon-ed in with festive bottles and snacks, making the odd foray up and down the avenues to procure the holiday veggies, the holiday meat and last holiday treats and that. Before giving myself over to the total abandonment of the season, I riffle through the months bills, and what's this unexpected £35 charge on my credit card from the UK rent-a-van company?

Figuring it's some kind of bullshit stain removal charge or something, but curious to hear what we're paying for, I make a call to Alamo, but guess what, it's not some bullshit charge. It's a Notice of Intended Prosecution for Traffic Violation Handling and Information Processing Fee, or something, which is clearly bullshit in another way, but nothing stupid about it.

So I'm all like, this is the first I've heard of any Intended Notice Violating Traffic Hullaba-hub. But I know there are cameras. Cameras all around the South of England, and some of them are traffic cop cameras that photograph you speeding and then send the ticket to your house. Except when they run the plates they don't go to a house they go to Alamo rental company who then charges you £35 for their bother of looking up who had rented the car and telling the cops.

That explains the fee, but what about the ticket?

It would have been sent to your address by the Winchester Constabulary, says Alamo customer service guy, who then amazes me by plucking an address from my past history and not the address I would've filled out on any form presented to me in October 2007, or let's keep in mind the address corresponding to the credit card which they had no problem finding or billing me to, don't forget about that.

But Alamo customer service guy is apparently also Alamo desk-bound traffic cop, because he totally cops an attitude with me. You know in most states, he says, they take away your driving license for having an out-of-date address on your driver's license.

Now, I don't think this is true, and anyway is Alamo customer service going to have a hotline to the local DMV ratting out paying customers who are trying to sort out a ticket and clear up the wrong information?

Oy, so trying. So Assistant Deputy on the phone agrees, after a second time berating my urbane and incompetent ways, to e-mail a copy of this ominous sounding Notice of Intended Prosecution. Then I remember something and I'm all like Hey, Sir Mister Alamo Dickhead Sir, I realize that I'm the first person of responsibility here being the owner of the card we used to rent the van, but we did pay extra to certify a total of three drivers including myself and like you all will vouch for that right? Lovely.

So I get the e-mail and it's New Year's Eve and Day, and I'm all over the internet trying to figure out levels of severity in British traffic violations and how to interact with the Winchester Constabulary, and how much this thing might ultimately cost us. And I'm using online maps to figure out where we got the ticket, and then something scary occurs to me that this whole rigamarole pertains to something that happened the very day we rented the van, not even eight hours after arriving in the country and we were driving around everywhere for two weeks after that, although respectfully and carefully let's keep in mind. That's why we certified three of us to alternate as drivers.

So bright and early January (extra early because of the time difference) I'm up and calling Winchester with my print out copies of Notice and Intended Rental Agreement Credit Blah to sort out the whole mess and ring ring... please press one or two... and I'm through. To a very agreeable girl who chats with me about her recent great holidays and assures me that the whole thing is dropped now so nice and easily as soon as I confirm the ticket was incurred by three law-abiding rent-a-van foreigners who didn't mean to slightly exceed a 35 mph speed. And so far that's been The End.

Liza will be guest-hosting Crash Course Karaoke this Saturday Feb. 2 from midnight to 2:30am at Kenny's Castaways Brings to mind the old Late Night Pleasure set when anything could, and often did happen at the now-defunct BMW bar on Seventh Avenue. The weekly residency where Liza & Ian saw the late night wine-drinkers give way to the after-hours Chelsea boy crowd Saturday after Saturday winter and spring of the year 2000.

Friday - January 18, 2008

Still spending what for us is a lot of time in the studio. As our recording endeavors are still completely self-funded (pro: we do whatever we want without a label or outside producer telling us what songs to record or how, con: money, money, money) whatever time we spend in the studio is augmented up to tenfold with prep time and listening time. For example, last night I added keys and tambourine to "Learning Lessons." For several days prior I practiced the keyboard part using my Yamaha and a boom box with a repeater track function to the point that last night we played through the song twice - once to check we liked the sound we were getting, once to record the part. It took maybe 30 minutes. Cheap, easy, effective. A signed major label act would've developed the part in the studio, practicing at the rate of what could easily be hundreds of dollars an hour when you add together the pay for a high end recording studio + engineer + producer.

More money would probably have gotten this record done more quickly, but I don't think our new stuff could sound any better. I hope y'all are as excited about it as we are!

New Year's Day I went to a most fabulous party. It's become a bit of a tradition with a certain crowd we know. Not to sound like too big of a hermit crab, but having several times played New Year's Eve when even a great local like the Ratner-endagered Freddy's at least half fills up with over-dressed newbies and drunken amateurs, and the icy hours after midnight end up spent guarding the gear from idiots on the one hand and trying to get a car service on the other, we decided this year we wouldn't go through it unless offered more than a minimum amount of payment. But I don't know that we would've been able to scoff the Eve so blithely if we hadn't had the guarantee of this fabulous, warm house-party the next day.

Well apartment-party would be more accurate, with tons of home made baked goods and a lighted liquor fountain juicing champagne and cranberry. On a high floor in Downtown Brooklyn, the pre-war windows letting in the changing of the sunset winter sky amidst the warmth of a great crowd of creative and kind people I'd love to see more often if we weren't all so absorbed in the artistic and political work of creating culture in America.

Lots of people brought bottles of red wine. We discovered one extra good bottle, and Andy educated us with his culinary experience about the phenomenon of vineyards releasing a limited number of special taster bottles to decide if a vintage is good enough to widely distribute. And you thought all he could do is play the bass.

After the really good bottle, the wine-drinking crowd gathered in the kitchen thought that opening another bottle of red wine was in order, so our friend Peter takes the corkscrew and the last remaining bottle of red wine and he's trying to open it, trying to open it... having such a problem... the corkscrew doesn't really want to penetrate the cork... then at last the point goes through... the screw top. That's right, it was a screw top bottle of wine.

Well, I didn't need Finnish Virpi and her horseshoes* to tell my New Year's Day message for '08 (although the lack of her effervescent presence was felt). It's something about paying close attention and not doing things the hard way. Which is difficult for me because I have a soft spot for the hard way...

* Here is a blog describing the Finnish melting tin horseshoes to tell your fortune at New Year's tradition. Scroll past the dog & cat pics if you're interested.

Monday - January 7, 2008

Lots of new England treasures uploaded! Photos of our UK 2007 tour , a couple of new self portraits , and recordings of 6 live songs from our Saturday Oct. 27th performance in Southampton. Enjoy!

Wednesday - January 2, 2008

Happy 2008! I've neglected to post as of late. We've been in the studio... it's going great!

At a recent holiday party (in fact the same blood stained soiree described below) I was asked by someone trying to show interest if we wanted to "make it" or were "just content to do music as a hobby and have a day job." Besides not wanting to address the black and white thinking of these two options isolated from a host of more likely and more self-actualized realities - it was early in the evening and I wasn't warmed up literally from the cold walk from the train much less prepared to take on any degree of spokeswoman like activities such as answer these deep questions - I was relieved and amused when the inquisitor seemed charmed by my vague "well, we do what we do, the world does what it does, and sometimes things... intersect?"

Over the holidays I watched this movie called The Unheard Music about X who were not "the last American band to get played on the radio" but I know what they are talking about. It's not too early in the year to mention the facts of the situation, but I'm ignoring the consolidated consumerism of corporate media on the one hand to focus on anticipation for upcoming releases this year as well as Beefstock 7 music festival - now with promised Brooklyn Cable Access Featured Coverage!

Wednesday - December 19, 2007

As we head into the longest night of the year, today I finally acknowledge - through my perpetual optimism - that in truth the last couple of weeks have been... less than stellar.

It all started with a yucky head cold about two weeks ago that forced us to cancel a couple of rehearsals and kept me up with that tickling type of dry cough that doesn't do much besides irritate your throat and give your abdominal muscles an alternative work-out. Feeling sickly, and sick of television, I decided to try a sci-fi paperback handed down by a friend as a quick thriller-type read. This book was so horrible, so violent and nasty that I can't in good conscience even donate it to a thrift store. Instead I feel compelled to post a warning and do something I don't think I've ever done before: put a usable book into the recycling.

Then, the same day I compulsively finished the horrible tale of snuffing whores in some far future century, with stomach rebelling from doses of OTC cold medicine, and still feeling mentally contaminated by the dirt and rage of that author's mind, not one but two people I'd considered friends behaved in ways that makes me think their stockings may deserve nothing but sooty black lumps this holiday season.

And, as usual in these situations I'm deeply saddened by the loss of friendship, then turned blue in general about the state of the world, and human nature in the post-post modern era and the hope of relationship and connection in general. Also it's not the first time I've maybe been a little too nice, a little too forgiving with a deeply flawed but interesting and talented person - and had it come back around to insult me to my face.

I know enough not to take it personally: this need to be right at all costs seems just another form of putting others down to try and make yourself feel better, because you don't chop up a friendship unless you're feeling reckless and out of touch with the subjective quality and worth of experience that is I think what ultimately makes life worth living. Or to be concise, when someone's acting like an ass they're almost always feeling as much pain as they cause.

Still, as peace-loving as my nature is, there are at least three sure-fire ways to provoke me into the unpleasant state of anger:

1) Fuck with my band.

2) Knowingly act unfair.

3) Name-call to leverage your opinion in a verbal disagreement.

What makes you angry?

It's interesting to think about, and I've realized how effective the social-conditioning for women is against feeling powerfully angry. Often it takes a day or two of feeling depressed and/or anxious to realize I'm actually rightfully ticked off and turning it in instead of constructively expressing it out.

Ah, but you'd think that would be enough with the Christmas Calamities. Not so! All the above unpleasantness faded into the background during last Friday's midnight ambulance ride - as chaperone, not victim. Nothing like seeing a man's face streaming with blood to snap your priorities back in order. Our friends in CCK were entertaining at a holiday party when this guy lost his balance and what would've been a little fall became a big deal because someone had already broken a glass and he fell into the sharp shards and pieces. It wasn't until the bright lights of the downtown New York City emergency room illuminated the doctor's prodding and cleaning that I realized how truly serious this could've been - another inch and this would be the story of how a broken glass cost an eye. Instead there were just a lot of used paper towels and three stitches. Happy Bloody Holidays!

So we head into the longest night looking for the returning of the light. Working for peace, cultivating the habits of health and doing our best to remain upright and present, appreciating all the experiences life chucks at us.

And there is a lot to feel positive about. My WonderWheels for one - true friends, lovely collaborators and three of the most supportive, fascinating and gifted people I've ever had the privilege to get to know. It's not surprising we occasionally provoke that grabby feeling of envy in others... I'm still not sure how or what I did to deserve such a good thing, but I do know enough to feel daily and perpetually grateful for our music and our crazy club of being together.

And our recording. While I was still recovering from the cold I lay down a cool piano part on "After Last Night" - my first experience recording on a baby grand piano. I also added some keys to two songs on the new Larch album, and on Monday was clear-throated enough to do backing vocals on three of Larch tunes that ranged from a counterpoint part to layered harmonies to some Kinks-y ooo's. We have three more long recording sessions scheduled before the end of the year, which will hopefully bring us very close to completing all tracking for both albums.

Looking forward...

Thursday - December 13, 2007

Every few months I get the urge to promote our music into the wider world.

My perception of this drive is that it comes from a place of strangely impartial respect for what we create as four individuals who collectively play like so much more than the sum of our parts. I know I could be fooling myself - who am I to be free of the contamination of our superficial and fame obsessed society? Can I really still be clinging to my liberal arts thesis beliefs that our work somehow makes a difference by injecting the hope of original and valid creation into our world on a symbolic level?

Well yeah. It's my drop in the bucket and I choose to keep the flavor sweet.

Over the years my interactions with the publications, websites, reviewers, etc. that one sends free CDs and sheets of paper with biographical facts and flattering quotes to have been varied to say the least. Mostly positive - or at least professional - a lot of the outlets that support indie music are not surprisingly overwhelmed with submissions and trying to separate the great from the rest for little or no pay. Doing it for love a lot like most of us musicians.

So the communication back-and-forth ranges from friendly to scattered to not at all, and seems somewhat separate from the quality of the reviewing or the intentions of the people. And I totally understand - who among us hasn't let an e-mail sit too long unanswered? I like to think I'm often great company, but I can also be a laxly callous correspondent.

Which brings me to some radio play we received on Radio Muse show #16 a while back. How long ago I'm not certain, but don't blame the Radio Muses! They contacted me back in March to let me know we'd be included in show #16, and I did check back periodically, but the site seemed perpetually stuck on show #15, and now I checked back again and here we are on show #17. Ah well, you can still stream show #16 at the link above. It starts with a clip from the RHPS , and as it's streaming you can't fast forward. We're on pretty close to the end. The whole show is just under an hour.

Sunday - December 2, 2007

Entertainment tonight: Liza will be guest hosting Crash Course Karaoke at Kenny's Castaways . This live band karaoke experience features members of several excellent original music projects. They are available every Sunday for anyone - from pro to tourist, hot pipes to shy types - to have the experience of fronting a live band. It's good fun! No cover.

Wednesday - November 28, 2007

Entertainment tonight: super quadruple Carino - Warnick - Smith - Sharples bill at the Parkside kicking off around 8:30.

And the answer to the most frequently, recently asked question is: Soon! England tour photos coming soon.

It's just that with 650+ photos and video footage from every show to choose from it takes a little effort to piece together the best parts for a lively short story for you all to enjoy. Otherwise we might have to sedate people with turkey and stuffing and glaze their eyes over with a 13 hour slide show, video presentation and story session. And do we have some stories!

One of the most remarkable things about this last England tour was how well we all got on together. Laughing all the way!

It even carried over to our recent touring band meeting to review the video footage and start picking songs to post online. It all started while Ian & I were waiting for Andy to pick us up in his car, and it was drizzling, and we were sharing an umbrella so we started singing that song Bus Stop . So we get to the second couplet in the bridge, and without consciously realizing it Ian changes the lyrics from "All the people stared as if we were both quite insane" to "All the people stared as if we were from Planet Mars" - and it just kills me. We're still waiting for our ride and I'm completely cracked up laughing, can't stop, and Ian doesn't quite see why it's so hilariously funny, but it just fits with his Gravity Rocks brain, and I'm busting myself up with alternate lyrics like:

All the people stared as if we were from Planet Mars
And then they'd drive real fast and splash us with their cars


All the people stared as if we were from Planet Mars
So I said screw it let's just go out to the bars

... well I think it's funny...

The limited edition/sneak preview tour CD that we made about 300 of - ANTI-GRAVITY GARAGE - has received a very nice, unsolicited review. We didn't do any mailings or publicity for this CD in the USA, figuring the touring band blend confuses the issue for both bands. Likewise I'm not posting this on the press page , but our pal, Black Death Beer Vampire Vlad , gets it all and says:

Larch & the WonderWheels - ANTI-GRAVITY GARAGE
"Good name from a band that gets spacey at times. This is really a special project that combines the two bands of a dating couple. Ian comes with his band The Larch and Liza has the WonderWheels. It's a good match, both as a relationship and as a musical production. They created this hybrid out of necessity when touring England earlier this month. This was the CD they produced as a taste of things to come. I have to confess to liking Liza's songs better but then again she is cuter than Ian and her songs are more accessible for me. Don't want to take anything away from Ian mind you, see this guy play live and you will be impressed. Especially if you love watching a true guitar master at work. One who understands nuance and how to make his guitar sing as sweetly as Liza does onstage. I rate this hard to get collectors edition album a "buy"."

I also went into the archives to update the lyrics page for "Clergy Man" (MEET THE ANIMAL) with the text of the article that inspired the song.

Wednesday - November 21, 2007

There's lots of playing in our past. So many shows. Singing to so many people. Especially these last two years. Over 50 club dates as Liza & the WonderWheels in 2006-2007, not counting all the parties. Then there's Larch shows and the Beef experience, and the mind boggles if we spin out even further into what the rhythm sections get up to.

So it is a novelty that here in the present we find ourselves currently, purposefully under-booked. In terms of shows that is. The immediate future plan includes 6 recording sessions at Wombat in the month of December to finish up our third album.

And performing things just do come up. For instance, a week from this Sunday - December 2 - I've been asked by my friends in Crash Course Karaoke to guest host. That's right, back to Kenny's ...

Chilling our gig schedule also means I get to go out and see some live music I am not on a bill with. My pleasure, people! Thanks for the entertainment!

I was joyful to be present at Kirsten Williams' first full show in quite a while. She really has a unique and beautiful voice, and is a singular presence in the moody-melodic (a-little-bit-anti)folk, songwriterly scene.

And who coaxed Kirsten out to play by getting more music into Bar on A (which I've found both times I've been there to be a warm place with friendly staff, and a good little listening room unless there are some extra rowdies at the bar)? The ever-true John Pinamonti , who followed Kirsten with his ever-so-accomplished band and played a focused, passionate set right to the room.

The next night we hung at Freddy's, mostly sitting, drinking in the back room as four sets of performers came and went filling the room with their music and their people. I never get to do that as a civilian, and persistence paid off because after the self-conscious eccentric songwriter whose best song conjured up a Poguesy drunktank vibe; after the horrifyingly self indulgent set from the second band whose lead singer really pissed me off joking about the inferior looks of some blind date while incorporating three different shirt changes into the act to display his hairy backed 300lb. tuber body; and after the bewildering third band who didn't seem to care about playing music so much as hanging out, cracking up at their mistakes, we were there to see Pocket Monster totally come into their own. They turned in the best set I've ever seen them play, confident, sonically together, and they just would not stop playing! It was great. They are releasing their second record, and I've heard it and I like it: fresh, party-ful vibe with again more confidence rocking the vocals and one or two unexpected, but very nice surprise tracks.

So rave on Pocket Monster! I've added a link under bands we like. And thanks for the sandwiches!

I have more to cover, but Thanksgiving is calling...

Also, finished another new song. This one is called "Cast Away."

Thursday - November 15, 2007

Entertainment tonight: graceful Louie-villian songwriter Kirsten Williams (with stand out bass player), followed by the urbane balladeering Tex-westerner John Pinamonti at the Bar on A at 9 & 10 respectively.

The IPO on Monday was okay... it's been a while since we put ourselves in the position of playing a showcase with a bunch of unknown-to-us bands. I was shocked by the extremely low level of camaraderie. You know, the old I'm staring right through your smile routine. Or, the new I'll add you as a MurdochSpace "friend" but not actually respond to you when we're in the same bar ridiculousness.

I'd forgotten also about that particular Power Pop segment in the music world that cares more for loud guitars than lyrics... close to what we do riff-wise, but really quite a different underlying attitude. I couldn't help using my X-ray supposition glasses to strip the interesting jackets and union jack stickers off the band before us to see Long Island metal-meat heads posing, posing, posing.

I'm glad we did it, even though it was a Monday late night sacrifice set. I got to meet the IPO festival organizer who seems a true music fan in the great tradition of the know-it-all classification-ists. Gotta give props to his dedication pulling these events together internationally.

And the Baggot Inn sound man was excellent! I have a pet fondness for that venue... always striving, trying to make that space a rock club, low ceilings and trencher tables be damned!

Tuesday night was much better as we got back into regular Wheels rehearsing at the Pit. Great instrumental pieces appeared. We worked on a new song. The creeps are gone.

And speaking of, I do rescind that part about me changing my way of thinking. Just forget, delete and cancel. File it under lost incident. I don't want to think about it anymore.

Sunday - November 11, 2007

Still excited about the great new review of our second record MEET THE ANIMAL that came out while we were away in the Fall 2007 issue of Agenda Magazine.

Passed a landmark number of people signed on to receive our e-mails, which feels great.

During our recent tour of England I had a conversation with this really upbeat student guy who was giving us super-positive energy during our set. He freaked out for our cover of Talking Head's "Psycho Killer" (Andy sings it), and he turned out to be the first of no less than three people - music fans - I talked to over there who were not familiar with the Grateful Dead.

I know!

Like them, love them or loathe them, when do you ever hear "Hmmm, Grateful Dead, I think I've heard of that before"? These chaps were from the North of England, studying down in the Warsash area to become merchant seamen. This is why I adore touring - you get all the fun of traveling and meeting all sorts of different people, learning about their backgrounds - and you get to play all the time!

So, after looking at a copy of MEET THE ANIMAL, one of these chaps asks me if this is in stores all over America? And before I can answer "No, but it should be", he jumps on to the hilarious supposition "You must be rich!"

[And what a good time to give it up for the Art Department! Mary Horenkamp, the Designing Deity, Peter Chance for lighting and taking the cover photo and the lovely Dina Kaliko who spent a great day shooting us at Coney Island. See how just how good y'all are helping us look!?]

Well, just like my income, the landmark mailing list is a number that might not inspire some to awe, but is significantly more than third world rock bands have on their e-mailing lists...

Anyway, with this welcome increase in our popularity came (menacing chords...) a Creepy Incident. I can say no more for the moment, but it has changed the way I'm thinking about certain aspects of our "celebrity," but while I've got your attention I'll mention that The Larch is playing the International Pop Overthrow music festival at the Baggot Inn on Monday. 11pm. $10. Come early and catch the whole line up:

7:30 - Linda Draper from Queens
8:00 - The Special Pillow from Hoboken
8:30 - The Sun Kings from Melville, NY
9:00 - Pristeen from Liverpool
9:30 - The Get Quick from Philadelphia
10:00 - The Hot Walls from Detroit
10:30 - London Egg from New York City
11:00 - The Larch from Brooklyn

Wednesday - November 7, 2007

Here's a fellow performer's review of Vladapalooza II at Freddy's last Friday. The Ladies Room that evening was a bog of despicable stench thanks to a clutch of tequila shooting young women who were kind enough to entertain the men with some sloppy drunk kisses... right before going in to show no mercy what-so-ever to the little Freddy's Loo. And, our set felt even later than 1, it felt like the middle of the night plus some jet lag. But, I love how our 7 dates in Hampshire has become a "Massive European Tour." So the legend grows...

Tonight is our first rehearsal with Joe since before the Parkside Lounge show - which research shows to be 4.5 weeks in the past, but feels very far away - although we did all play a few for Vladapalooza II... no set list. Then we closed with Tom on two of the signature UK '07 numbers: my cover of the Kink's "Victoria," and Ian singing lead on my song "Learning Lessons" (UNRELEASED).

A great new review of our second record MEET THE ANIMAL came out while we were away in the Fall 2007 issue of Agenda Magazine. Hurrah!

So I took the opportunity to refresh our press page, and I added links to an archival interview with Andy Mattina , and other nice things.

Also, heads up about a newly written song: "Low Strung."

Thursday - November 1, 2007

Hey - we're back from England! It was a most completely fabulous, excellent time! Rockin' 7 nights for 7 with some sight-seeing on either side. Lovely country where we were staying, lots of ponies and fresh air. Over the next few weeks we'll be unpacking: I kept a log, 4 people were photographing, a video camera came along... meanwhile, back in Brooklyn we are preparing for Vladapalooza II tomorrow night at Freddy's. Our shows page has been updated with all the gory details.

While we were gone, Radio Crystal Blue released their quarterly top 50 airplay chart and we moved up to a three-way tie at position #19. They also played "Clergy Man" (MEET THE ANIMAL) on the 10/29/07 radio show. Thanks RCB!

And why not mention that nary a week has passed since 2003 when we haven't received at least about a dozen plays on radio ZFM Australia. So close, yet so far away... some day.
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