Sunday, November 11, 2012

Apes of Wrath Flier: Iroquois Gig

Yet another decrepit document unearthed during my Salem trip at the end of summer. One of few extant Apes of Wrath gig fliers. This one is dated Feb 6. But what year? Likely 1986, possibly 1987. The Iroquois was a dive in downtown Roanoke that played host to national acts (I saw John Lee Hooker, NRBQ and Roger McGuinn there to name a few) as well as locals, including punk rock acts and whatever the Apes of Wrath were...indie rock? It was a pretty large space really. Pool tables. Beer. Some rough characters, kids, and what today we'd called hipsters all together.

I have no idea who this opening act was. New Law Nightmare? No idea. The flier's photo was clipped from National Geographic and is probably of a meeting of snake-handlers. I like the detail "All Ages and Sizes."

I remember a Battle of the Bands at the Iroquois. Shirley, the infamous owner, put our reasonably wimpy act in with the metal bands, probably because our band name contained the word "wrath." That does sound metally, if you think about it. We played a good set but pennies were hurled. It's preserved on VHS tape somewhere in my archive.

Do gig fliers still look like this? All handmade?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rare Apes of Wrath Set List!

Way, way back in the mid-80's, I was in a great little rock trio, The Apes of Wrath. We played in college student haunts in Roanoke, Salem and Blacksburg, Va. A few of our choice numbers were by Jay Lugar; about a third of the songs were by me; another third were by Robert Woodrum and the rest were a wide variety of covers. The Go-Gos AND AC/DC. I recognize most of the song titles on this piece of legal pad paper, but it might date from after my departure of the band.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Limited Recording in Tiny Area with Tiny Guitar

I've been down recently about my music. I can't believe Smellicopter isn't ready yet. Thinking about it at all has become a big burden, a drag on my soul. It is at least a year and a half overdue now. Soon, I'll need to inform the Kickstarter backers that it won't be ready in October, the most outlandish future date I could think of most of a year ago. And here we are. Nearly October and still nothing. Once again there are way too many years between releases. I am 49 years old now. I don't know how many more albums--despite the scores of great unreleased songs--will ever see the light of day at this pace. I'd have to live to be 150 to see them all out, or so it seems. Something needs to happen to quicken all this.

Early rejected cover art
This continuing bummer has seeped into my new song topic ideas, which all center around dead friends and the hard lessons of life and how little some of us accomplish. 

Anyway, it's been very hard to motivate myself to record much in the past few months. I did force myself this week to accomplish one small goal. Read on....

Music Session 13 Sept 2012

Finally made myself get back to music today.  After reading the booklet to recent Now Sounds reissue of Brewer and Shipley’s Down in LA, (I subsequently sold the cd because it has too many minor key songs…not my kind of listening) about how they’d practice in a large closet getting a great blend and big sound, I cleaned out about half my studio closet this summer. There's a quaint cleared out corner now just big enough to be a partial phoney vocal booth. It took longer to position the mic stand than you’d think. Since, I’ve been experimenting with recording in it. I did vocals for a new version of “An Unexpected Perfect Day” in there and a first pass at a guitar solo as well.

Not for the claustrophic
I continued using that new space today, recording Section D of the Self-Starter Suite using Juliette’s tiny kid guitar, a piece of junk that is lots of fun to play. I’d like to say I used it to get the near ukulele sound (if ukes had metal strings!) I want for that section of the suite, but it’s really because it’s the only guitar I can play that part on without serious pain after a few minutes! First I needed to haul a suitable stool out of the basement and dust it off. I can just about fit myself and the guitar in the closet.

Cluelss in the closet and clutter?
I did three takes of the main track, did some editing and copying for a master take. Did some relatively serious compression for the odd instrument, which ended up working well after a few adjustments. The double-track of it I did in one take. It sounds pretty unusual. Can hear a bass line in my head for this brief passage. Saved for another day.

Giving credit where its due
Listened through some other songs and practiced “If You Buy My Album.”

Also rehearsed an unrecorded vocal part for the chorus of “AUPD” with just as much difficulty as I have had before. I think I’ll just get it as good as I can for illustration purposes and then offer that part to Yani to sing. The guitar solo still sounds okay to me.

The olde Power Mac really didn’t want to play all zillion tracks of “Your Idiot Son” today. Some of the electric fru-fru picking sounds out of the pocket to me now and the same bass issues that always plague me haven’t gone away since the last time I heard these tracks. Other tracks still sound good, however. 

Who knows when I’ll get back to recording. Maybe next Thursday.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Bill Hill Archives #2

In addition to his rube/trickster cover for They'll Nickel and Dime You to Death, Bill Hill also designed the cover for the cassette, It's More Than a Hobby. The gag was a line from an actual Bela Lugosi film (I'll figure out the name eventually). Bela's chararacter's hobby is something awful like a basement collection of medieval torture devices. Some sad clown refers to it as an unusual hobby. Bela, speaking pretty much like Dracula, says "It's More.....Than a Hobby." Whew. Shiver me timbers, Bela! Today I present four versions of the cover hand drawn by Bill.

Bela inhales the model glue liberally. Note: creepy thin rubbery fingers.

Thicker fingers. Fumes bypass the nostrils
Thicker lines. Curvy tube of glue. I like the lettering here
Getting crazier-looking. Scary fingers. Fumes definitely clouding brain function.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Most Obscure Cover on the Internet? Yani's Latest

Fans of Wes Andersen's stupendous film, The Life Aquatic with SteveZissou, will have heard music by Sven Libaek, probably without knowing it. Libaek's seventies film score music--heard in a number of real sea-based films--is overshadowed by the Portugese language covers of the David Bowie catalog and new incidental music by Mark Mothersbaugh. "Open Sea Theme" is the most prominent piece in the film. 

Libaek's mostly excellent and highly distinctive soundtracks have trickled down to the blog-o-sphere where they can be had for naught. Seriously, in about an hour you can track 'em all down.

Here, Yani Martinelli and Bert cover a Libaek piece, "Go Anywhere" from the 1973 film, Nickel Queen

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Larry Anglebooger Event: Friday, Aug 10 2012

The kids and I went to see Tom Angleberger's performance and signing at Richmond kid's book shop, bbgb. He's the author of the Origami Yoda series, Horton Halfpott and Fake Mustache among others. For someone from Virginia (!) he certainly commands a dedicated mass of kid readers. The assembled youngsters knew his books, boy howdy. Tom is the husband of Cece Bell, herself a fab kid's book author and illustrator. They both be talented and mighty funny. If you have kids, you gotta check out their books. Really. I insist. Madeline took the following photos with one of those I-things.

Tom draws based on audience input

Larry at the autograph table
Dwight from the Origami Yoda series
Fako Mustacho!
Promo Wookie Standee for the latest installment

Being a "friend of the family" has some advantages. Years ago Tom made a DogBot video for one of my songs, "Getting Involved." I'm not sure I completely understand the video, but here 'tis.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bill Hill Archives #1

Way back in the cassette era (the 1990's) several of the covers for my tiny releases were drawn by super-talented former Salemite, Bill Hill. Here are three sketches and the final layout for my tape called They'll Nickel and Dime You to Death

Friday, July 27, 2012

Yani's Return from Caracas Summer 2012

Fabulous songwriter, singer, multi-instrumentalist (and collaborator) Yani Martinelli just got back from a visit to her extended family in Caracas, Venezuela. Here are a just a few photos she lent us here at Brookmania:

The razor wire atop the wall creeps me out, but check out the cloudy mountain vista at the top of the street.

Here's Yani sitting among the roots of a gigantic Caucho tree.

You really must now download Yani's latest album, Bubble Station, at Bandcamp.  I believe it is still free. I myself perform on a few of these songs. I am excited to know that a vinyl release of Bubble Station is a possibility. I am trying to convince her to create a Kickstarter project. Yani's music is just fantastic. Mostly, it's on the folkier side of pop but with lots of sunshine pop and other influences, too.