Sunday, June 24, 2012

No Internet!

We’ve been without internet for 8 days. Wow! My blog will probably be pretty sporadic this summer anyway. I’ve been pretty obsessed with assembling the Wax Theatricks film.
A lot has happened in 8 days.
First, Tracy and Marion are in the middle of the Colorado forest fires. They’ve had to stay with friends and won’t know until Tuesday if they lost their home. They had to give their cat to the local Humane Society. We’re all thinking about them.
Our friend Jon who drafted us into the Banana Bike Brigade was hit in front of his home by the TKOs.
The Technical Knock Outs are a group of young boys whose mission is to literally knock someone out in a single blow. Jon says they know what they’re doing. They hit him in his jugular vein and he went right out. They got his wallet and 3 beers. This was 3 blocks from our apartment.
Jon has had run ins with them 4 times. One time he was riding his bike. They threw half a brick at him, but his back pack stopped it. They often use half a brick because they’re easy to throw.
Last year there was a girl who could positively identify 7 of them. She didn’t show up in court and they had to let the jerks go. She had obviously been threatened.
They killed a Vietnamese man on Grand. Francis Slay, our mayor, found a victim by our library on Grand. He was one of Joanie Thomas’ employees. He suffers permanent damage.
Needles to say, Valerie and I are very concerned. She pointed out that all the victims seemed to be men over 50.
How can anyone be so removed from empathy? We see it all around us. Our current politics are a symptom.
On a lighter note---
Valerie, Dylan and I went to McGurk’s Wednesday for a book signing by our buddy William Stage. We got our autographed copies of Not Waving Drowning. He’s funny as ever! His wife Mary is pregnant with their 9th kid. All but the first are girls. I think baby girls were the majority of the audience.
We met Bill McClelland and partied with Rommie Martinez.
Valerie, Chloe, Dylan and I were in a parade with the Banana Bike Brigade in Marissa, Illinois last Saturday. The largest float was the Marissa chapter of the Tea Party. There was also a giant blue float with a portrait of Jesus that read, “Jesus walked on water!”
I think I scared some of the other bikers when I said very loudly, “I wonder what they think of us homosexual communists!”
One of the girls asked, “Are you homosexual?” Another blurted out, “I must be communist!” She was dressed in a red tutu that matched her cardinal bike.
Dylan and I are looking forward to a parade in Red Bud, Illinois this afternoon. It will be 100 degrees.
Valerie escaped it with a family reunion and Chloe’s in Florida with a friend.
The pics are all with camera phones, so they're not very good. Jon with bikes after a Cinco de Mayo parade we were in a couple of years ago. William reading at McGurk’s. The kids and me last weekend. No one got a good pic of Valerie.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Delay Tactics

One of the few nice things that happened as a result of our friend Danny’s passing was getting back in touch with old friends.
I was contacted by both Walt Whitney and Carl Weingarten. After a lot of catching up and nostalgia, we decided it was time for a new Delay Tactics release.
Unlike Wax Theatricks, Delay Tactics focused on instrumentals. I was very proud of the sound of the recordings. I blame Walt for that.
He had a 4 track Scully recorder. Wax Theatricks was recording on 16 and 24 track decks and getting nowhere near the sound. I kept thinking about Sgt. Pepper being recorded on a 4 track Studer machine.
Carl is sending a 10 minute piece he and Walt have been working on. He asked what format I would like it in.
This brought up an old lament of Danny’s and mine. The current format of music favors convenience over quality. Even the best 192k MP3 is no match for a CD, although it beats the hell out of tape or even FM radio.
I told Carl to send it to me 44.1k/16 bit because that’s what CDs use. The problem with that is the Recording Industry Association of America ( RIAA) announced Cds will end next year. I think it has more to do with how easy it is to steal than obsolescence.
I guess unless it’s a band promoting itself with sales at the venue, we’ll be downloading everything.
Walt has been mixing everything at 48k/24 bit in surround sound. That’s what they use for DVDs and unfortunately, it’s complete overkill in this day and age for music.
Last Christmas I gave my son a stereo with a turntable because he’s into vinyl now. Having grown up with boom boxes and ear buds, he’s amazed by the sound. He likes to turn the bass all the way up and blast. The house shakes, the dog freaks, and my ex’s screams can’t be heard over the din. It’s great! The music sound’s terrible though.
What will be the new standard?
If you haven’t already seen it, check out this 1985 PBS show about Delay Tactics.

 pic is from a Delay Tactics show in the early 80s.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Birth to Earth, Womb to Tomb

Yesterday was one of the milestones in my life. My son graduated from high school. His class was so large, the event was held at the Family Arena in St. Charles.
He graduated Cum Laude which is a miracle considering he totally gave up on school the last semester. I guess that’s not totally true. He gave up until we started getting notices that he was failing and not even bothering to hand in assignments. The last couple weeks of school he got serious and pulled off a sleep deprivation marathon that pulled his grades back up. We were really worried he was going to lose his scholarship to Webster University.
While all this was happening, I’ve been editing the band’s reunion concert DVD. They’ve given me a deadline of June 25th which is the year anniversary of the show. My friend Tom asked what the big deal was. It made me realized how unappreciated editors are. On top of the video, I have to mix the music too.
You find yourself in a control-freak situation. Dominic would love to take on some of the workload, but I have a vision of how it should turn out.
Fojammi started the video part of all this and would only let me work on the audio part. Now I understand. Even when he was too sick to work on it, I didn’t dare take over until he was gone.
The point of all of this is the strong sense of rebirth I’m feeling from all of these endings.
When my girlfriend got pregnant there was a mad dash to get married. I met her skydiving and we had a freefall wedding. It turned out she was from a huge Catholic culture, so we had to do the church thing too.
I was also in the middle of a music project with Margaret Bianchetta and Stephen Martin. Margaret came up with the name MSD (Margaret-Steve-Dave) which I though was brilliant. One of our largest utilities in St. Louis is the Metropolitan Sewer District.
Margaret agreed to sing One Hand, One Heart from West Side Story at the ceremony. I though it was a totally original idea but I’ve since learned everyone has used it.
Margaret was in a band with Mary Dee Brown and Monica Casey called Hot Club Canary. As a wedding present, they agreed to play at the reception.
Originally we were going to have the party with a bonfire at a friend’s property on the Missouri River. Unfortunately it snowed and the party was moved into the church’s gym.
I got a great pic of the girls playing under a basketball hoop. They really made the big time. I sent them each a copy as a Christmas gift but I don’t think they thought it was as funny as I did.
This swirl of activity was all centered around Dylan, who wasn’t even born yet. It’s been insanity ever since.
My daughter Chloe has probably been even more intense.
On our way to the graduation, Dylan and I stopped at Monica’s to get the pic for my blog. It was the first time they’d actually met. Monica is leaving for Africa for a couple of years. I think she’s going to be a teacher. I can’t believe I didn’t bother to ask her.
Coincidentally Steve called me yesterday just as the ceremony was ending. He wants to sift through all the tapes from those sessions. He didn’t even know Dylan was graduating.
By the way, Steve was best man at the wedding.
Everything seems to be coming together.