Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Great Band Played

On Saturday July 26 I went to go see a band called Stella For Star at Eden Prarie Dunn Bros. in (or actually just outside on the porch of) the historic Smith-More House on Eden Prarie Road. This band features two key members of my old band Jubilant Dogs, Sally McGraw and Andy Honigman. I've been listening to the songs on their myspace page and thought they were really great. I was very pleased to find their live show is equally great.

The band was missing the drummer and percussionist/backup vocalist, who are married and tending to their brand new baby. Luke (we're gonna have company!) Taylor was playing acoustic guitar and sang lead vocals on the two or three songs he wrote. That his lead vocals were a little low (what I think of as the Jody Stephens effect) was my only problem with the sound of the show. His songs were catchy and unpredictable. A. Hon was playing bass and was his usual solid self.

Sally has written another big group of catchy, meaningful, literate songs and her voice is as strong and clear as ever. Even if the rest of the show hadn't proved it, the encore of Patti Griffin's "Every Little Bit" certainly did. The electric guitar player, Toni Karlsson, was extremely tasteful and laid back. A more egotistical electric guitar player at a coffeeshop (or anywhere really) could have easily destroyed the delicate sonic balance of the show, but Karlsson added shimmer, polish, and countermelodies, contributing to the songs perfectly.

I was surprised to hear only one J. Dogs song, "The Game Is Up". I wish two things for this group; One, that they maybe throw some of those great old J. Dogs songs in there at the next show because, hey, they are essential Sally McGraw songs. Two, that they make a CD as great or better than the two created by Jubilant Dogs. God bless. See you at the next show (or maybe the one after that what with the kids and my own bands and all.)

Stella For Star
Jubilant Dogs
Eden Prarie Dunn Bros.

(Jody Stephens is the drummer for Big Star and generally sings lead on two or three songs over the course of their show. On all their live albums the first few lines of his lead vocals are low because his microphone is still set at a volume appropriate for his backing vocals on all the other songs.)

An Interview With The Guy Who Just Walked Near Me From The Parking Lot In To The Library

ME: Hello, The Guy Who Just Walked Near Me From The Parking Lot In To The Library. Welcome to Can I call you Guy?


ME: How do you like this library? Great reservation system, beautiful scenic windows, and a really fun kids area. Do you have any kids?

TGWJWNMFTPLITTL: Hummmmmm. Hm hm hm. Nngh. Ahhh.

ME: I mean parking gets a little hairy now and then, but they did a nice revamp of that last summer.

TGWJWNMFTPLITTL: Nnnnguuuuuhhhhaaaaigh. Mmooomf.

ME: Are you laughing? Or...?

TGWJWNMFTPLITTL: Nnnngh. Aaaaaaigh. Mmmf.

ME: Are you singing right now? Is that what that is?

TGWJWNMFTPLITTL: (Grabs lower back) Nnghhhh.

ME: What's sad is that you don't seem that much older than I.

TGWJWNMFTPLITTL: Hunnnnnghhhhh. Mmmmnghhh.

ME: Well, here we are at the library! I'm a-goin' this-a-way. Catch ya later!

TGWJWNMFTPLITTL: Guhhhhhhh. Aighhhh.

ME: Thanks for the interview, Guy. See you next time.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Now That IS A Sellout

You may recall my concern over whether I had sold out my music. Well, you may also remember I decided I was fine. Now this article begs the question: Is it selling out to compromise your artistic vision for a work, or even just its title, to increase your sales? Yes. Yes, it is.

Which begs the bigger question: What if you call your album by a name that you KNOW is not going to work for the Wal-Marts and Targets of the world, then change it to "no title" just to get controversy and publicity? What are you then? Hmph. It's all a game. A dumb game. Where smart people make money from stupid people.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's The Shooting, Stupid!

Here's what interested me about this article:
(Read the whole article)

Yahoo! News: "A Palestinian rammed a construction truck into three cars and a bus near the Jerusalem hotel where Barack Obama is supposed to stay Tuesday, injuring five people before an Israeli civilian shot and killed the attacker, police and witnesses said.

"The attack was a chilling copycat of a similar incident earlier this month when another Palestinian plowed his front loader into a string of vehicles and pedestrians on a busy Jerusalem street about three miles away. Three people were killed in that attack and dozens were wounded before an off-duty soldier shot and killed the assailant."

First of all, it was that rare story on yahoo! news that featured almost no fatuous "celebrities". I say "almost" because they do mention Barack Obama early on.

Second of all, the immediate negative impact on the perpetrators of the crimes strikes me as useful and correct. No expensive arrest, trial, incarceration, release, probation, second crime, repeat. Just a nice, simple "an Israeli civilian shot and killed the attacker." Wouldn't it be nice to read about a guy who had, oh, I don't know, tried to fondle a 12 year old girl and beat up her dad then "was shot and killed by an American civilian". Followed by, maybe, "American Civilian Earns Heroism Award". No, no, no. That wouldn't happen here unfortunately. Maybe I should move to Texas. This blogger is really affecting my mind.

Did I mention that when I was in Romania a man who LIVES IN ISRAEL asked my wife and I how we cold stand to live in the United States with all that violence? I was like "You live in Israel!! Israel! You could be sitting at a cafe and the whole place could blow up!" He was like "You could be sleeping in your bed at night and your whole family could get shot and robbed!" He had a point. I guess it all depends on what you can get used to forgetting about so you can get on with your life.

Monday, July 21, 2008

MS7 Studio Session A Success

I hear from my friend Karl that the tracks recorded at his house sound really good. I think we got the definitive "Farmer Song" at the very least. Did I already write about how successful and fun those sessions were to play at? Hang on, let me check. No?! How could this have happened? Okay, short version:

Shotgun Johnson and the Mississippi Seven convened in its entirety in Karl's garage with the goal of recording four songs. We ended up making our stretch goal of eight songs. They were:

Prayer Breakfast
Theme From Honigman
Total Peace
Illusions of Banjeur

then, missing Scuffy, who had to leave and will probably overdub his banjo and/or accordion later:

Ghost Train
Kansas City, Nebraska
Don't Be Dumb
Farmer Song

Evan was out to engineer and Karl had his garage very clean and well set up for the recording. Both did a lot of hard work and I appreciate it. Showing up and playing drums, singing backup, and making a few small arrangement suggestions was really fun. I am working on scheduling the next session, at which I hope to have similar success with these songs:

Gone To Stay
Run Come See
C'mon Lizzie
Into The West


On a completely different note, can anyone tell me why on Earth the original Al Jarreau version of the Theme From Moonlighting is not at iTunes? There are 385 songs there by the man but not the one song I've heard him sing hundreds of times and wanted to hear him sing whenever I wanted. Seriously. 385 songs and no "Moonlighting" from Al Jarreau? WTF?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Three Things I Did For The First Time Ever At Age 36

Yes, there are three things I did for the first time ever at age 36. They became a little too unwieldly for a blog so I made them an essay. Enjoy. Be encouraged.

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Stuff at the Main Site, Etc.

I have posted a poem called To Dress A Child.


I am considering writing essays about two different things. One is "so-called predatory lending" and two is "(I can't think of it right now because I am sleep deprived)". Is anyone interested in predatory lending or (that other thing)?


So twitter. Here's the thing. If I'm doing something outside the house, I don't want potentially predatory people on the internet to know I'm away from the house. If I'm doing something in my house, well, that's not interesting, is it? And finally, if I AM doing something interesting why would I stop to twitter about it? From this time on, all my twitters will be on a time delay.


I am going to compile an iTunes CD of mellow, catchy stuff like "Precious and Few" and "Longer". I am pretty sure I will love it.


Just saw this on yahoo news. Think of how much time has been wasted because of these guys. How many hours? How many hours make up a life? Figure 75 years x 365 days x 24 hours = (trying to find the calculator on my computer...) 65,700 hours in a typical life.

So have 65,700 people been made to wait an hour (or more) as they ridiculously discarded their toothpaste, shampoo, water, etc.? How about all the wasted products (like my toothpaste once was before a flight) and the hours spent creating and disposing of them? Yeah, I think we're up to every single hour of all three of these punks' lives. So. Send them to the mines. With no pay. Until they die. They owe the world that much.

(Are there still mines that are worked by humans? I suppose there are. Diamond mines? Coal mines? I don't even know.)

Quick Prediction

The Tampa Bay (Don't call us Devil) Rays had an amazing first half of the season, shocking the Yankees and Red Sox and basically anyone who was paying attention to baseball. They lost their last seven games before the all star break (happening now) and they will never regain first place. They MIGHT end the season with a winning record and they might not. They will not make the playoffs.

This has been "Easy Predictions" with Memphis Evans. Thank you. Goodnight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Memphis Evans: Sellout?

I thought this would be a blog post, but it was too long, so I made it an essay. Go there then come back here if you have comments.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Cuatro De Julio

Is there a more loathsome tradition in our country than fireworks on the fourth of july? I have honestly been trying to think of one and I can not. I mean, there's rape and murder but I wouldn't put those immediately in the "tradition" category, as they are frowned upon by almost everyone. Let's simulate war! Hey let's make a lot of noise all f-ing night! Let's scare dogs and babies! If you are shooting off fireworks, EVEN TODAY, you are an a-hole.


Now that Obama has gone to North Dakota and begun the process of backing off of his promise to get Americans out of the dangerous mess in Iraq within 16 months of taking office, my vote is up for grabs. Honestly. I just read this and would like a president who agrees that Joe Horn acted appropriately. McCain? Obama? Please someone impress me with something. Like William Shatner said, "It Hasn't Happened Yet."


These FIREWORKS are making me ANGRY!

These PRETZELS are making me THIRSTY!


On a happier note, I LOVED this book. Or parts of it. It is a short story collection that, at its best, makes crystal clear the intricacies and mysteries of life, love, and relationships. What more do you want?

Library: I Am Having An Adventure
Amazon: I Am Having An Adventure for a penny! Really! Take a chance.
Wikipedia: Perri Klass

May I recommend highly the final story – if you only read one. But reading the whole book gives the final story even more power.