Sunday, December 30, 2007

Po' buckra's Top Ten Albums Of 2007!

Rarely do I buy, watch, or even listen to anything current. I'm hopelessly retro, so when year-end best-of lists come around, my lists are usually chock full of re-issues and compilations of the sounds and sights of yesteryear. I'm fine with that; Stacey usually picks up the slack so I do get a glimmer of what's going on out there, and some of it is fine...I just find that I would rather discover stuff that passed me by in 1972 (a great year for movies and records!) than keep up with today's now-sound which largely grates on my ears. Imagine my surprise when I put together my Top 10 albums list this year and saw that it actually contains a majority of actual new and current releases!

Sort of....It appears that I only brought home 10 albums released this year (makes for an easy top 10!), and while 6 of those are actual new releases, I totaled up the number of songs and found that the older reissued tracks out number the new tracks by a margin of 257 to 68!!!

I tried! I really tried!

Gil's Top 10 Albums of 2007

1. Mitch Easter: Dynamico

2. George Jones: She Thinks I Still Care - The Complete United Artists Recordings, 1962-1964

3. Judee Sill: Live In London - The BBC Recordings 1972-1973

4. The New Pornographers: Challengers

5. John Vanderslice: Emerald City

6. VA: Love Is The Song We Sing - San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970

7. Shalini: The Surface And The Shine

8. Charlotte Gainsbourg : 5:55

9. Bruce Springsteen: Magic

10. VA: Radio Gold 5 - 30 Original American U.K. Chart Hits 1956-62

Long live Nowsville !!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Wife And My Ex-Wife

A Christmas tradition for about the last 8 or 10 years, Stacey and I spend Xmas Eve at my ex-wife's. I know, sounds pretty... Californian, and I guess it is. I would imagine it is as Californian as me laying naked on some pillows as an elderly Reichian therapist pounds on my chest telling me to scream "YES!" as she screams "NO!". I say both are Californian, and I have experienced both, but I enjoy Xmas Eve with Stacey and my ex-wife much more than being naked with a therapist.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Food, Guns and Good Times!

Last night, in celebration of my work not giving Christmas bonuses this year (another story, another day...), I decided that Stacey and I both needed a night out, so upon her arrival home I asked if she'd like to go out and eat some Chinese food for dinner. She did not hesitate in her response; "OK!".

We have a new fave restaurant on the main drag in the Albany area; King Tsin. It's not quite as good as the fancier place Joe and Sue turned us on to (Renee's Place), but it's much cheaper (again, thanks for the thoughtful bonus...) and the food is really good. Of course being cheaper, I'm sure that their meats have been tortured and fed toxic swill during their unfortunate lifespan (Renee's Place serves happier and less traumatized free range meat), but it still tastes great and is just as dead as the free range stuff.

I offered to drive which is pretty rare. (I don't like night driving due to my in my special eye, and I do like to have a few cocktails with dinner). As we parked, we both noticed that there were police everywhere within a 2 or 3 block area of King Tsin. The side roads were roadblocked and I thought that maybe it was a special holiday practice of DUI checkpoints. Hmmm. Maybe Stacey will need to drive home after all...

We started to walk to the restaurant and a policeman said "I wouldn't walk on this side of the street if I were you". It was then that I noticed he had an assault rifle in his arms. This is not a DUI checkpoint after all, it is a crime scene! The restaurant next door to King Tsin had just been taken over by 2 gun toting bandits that not only robbed the cash register, but all of the customers as well! (Several years ago, a similar chain of robberies hit the same area, but I believe the culprits were eventually nabbed.) We looked around and there must have been at least 20 police cars in the area, including a "Crime Scene" van. Evidently, the police thought that they may have the suspects penned in somewhere in a 2 or 3 block radius. The perimeter was in place!

We figured there would be no way we could possibly get robbed now, under the circumstances, and decided to go ahead with our dinner plans, so we entered King Tsin. The woman owner greeted and seated us and told us that they were robbed, probably by the same bandits 2 weeks earlier! Great. There goes the neighborhood. Again.

Anyway, there were plenty of other customers eating away, and since we were near the front window, we had a great view to the exciting action going on out front, which really wasn't a whole lot. Just many groups of police walking around. We ordered our food and ate with no interruptions.

On our way out, the other owner (husband I presume, to the woman greeter) was very excited to tell us the whole story of their robbery. 2 guys entered ("I knew immediately that they were going to rob us") the front door (7:00pm), and one guy aimed a pistol at the man at the register. He seemed rather rattled that the pistol had a laser beam sight on it, so there was a little red dot on the poor guy's chest! He gave the robber all of the cash. The other robber went into the dining area and also at gunpoint, took all of the customer's cash. For some reason I looked and noticed that the owner had a watch on, so I asked him if the bandits took jewelry also, which he said they didn't. I assume the robbers wanted to get out of there ASAP.

What a frightening thing to have gone through! You could be sitting there enjoying a great meal, and suddenly you could be faced with the fact that this could be the last time you see your wife, your husband, your kids, your friends, or even your waiter. That sucks. I hope they catch the bastards.

I must say, though, that at least for last night, it was very comforting to have a huge police presence right outside the door. And the food was excellent!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Guitar God

Some very clever person made me laugh harder than I have laughed in a long time. Bless his/her's heart.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Creeped Out

Weird. Many things kind of..creeped me out today. Probably a seasonal thing, I dunno..But here they are:

1. A bug crawled out of a box of CD's I opened today. The box came from London, and I hope the little fella doesn't destroy California's Eco-system!

2. Mike Huckabees's Xmas ad really creeped me out. Mentioning the birth of Christ on a political ad goes beyond giving me the creeps. I think it actually gave me the willies.

3. Actually, I'm finding that all of the presidential candidates have at least a couple of things about them that creep me out, and I came upon a wonderful solution to this whole mess we Americans go through in electing a president. I recently did a little research on Bush's No Child Left Behind program, and while my research came to the conclusion that it is a failure, I think the germ of the idea would be a brilliant way to choose our next leader. Make them take a friggin' test. High score wins.

4. Any Rankin/Bass animation other than Rudolf -The Red Nosed Reindeer.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On The Second Day Of Whining..

If my new neighbor the terrifying tot that always trots doesn't settle down soon, I'm afraid I will have to take the thunderous tyke aside and tell him that it will be me...that kills Santa Claus.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mr. Big Shot, Who Do You Think You Are?

Last week, John M. Borack's eagerly awaited (at least by my wife!) book; Shake Some Action -The Ultimate Power Pop Guide was finally released. I believe Stacey told me that she had prepaid an order for it about 2 years ago. (of course my wait for a prepaid book Mario Bava-All The Colors Of Dark by Tim Lucas may have set an all-time record for such a thing. I think I waited about 7 or so years for that!). Stacey is way more of a power pop fan than I, so I was content to just flip through it and see if anyone I knew was in it, plus it's kind of cool to see what the powers that be have to say about the power of pop.

I was totally shocked to see that Game Theory's The Big Shot Chronicles was ranked #16 out of the best 200 power pop records of all time! I honestly don't think of that record as power pop, and I really don't think it's better than Todd Rundgren's Something/Anything (#74) or Argybargy by Squeeze (#58), but you know...I'll take it!

I do know that it's a damn good record that means the world to me. It was an extremely bizarre and difficult time in my life, and I find the fact that it was recorded in about a week, smack dab in the middle of a national tour, pretty mind blowing. It was also probably the only album I ever recorded with Scott Miller that I actually knew all of the songs!

So here's to Scott, Shelley, Suzi, Mitch, and why the heck not, myself - regardless of where this album sits on anyone's list, it's a damn good record.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Reeling In The Robots

Gibson Guitars has just introduced a self-tuning guitar. At the moment you can add it on to certain Les Paul Special Edition for an extra $900. It has a computer chip and a motorized mechanism that when turned on, the damn thing tunes itself and you actually see the tuning pegs turn. I saw an article (but of course, I can't find it now, so no messy un-renamed links here!), that stated that Gibson was marketing this to 3 main groups:

1. The Japanese, because they love anything "robot".

2. Beginners, that are fortunate enough to shell out $2500 for a guitar to learn on.

3. Professionals, to eliminate the need for showtime delays, lugging around TWO guitars, and who the hell needs a roadie these days, anyhow?

Whatever. Here's some fine guitar pickin' without self-tuning guitars.

Hope that worked...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Raiders Of The Lost Tapes

Turns out the ex-manager is not sitting on the Lolita Nation tapes after all! They are somewhere in Capitol Record's vaults. So, to the ex-manager - I take it all back and my apologies, but if you do still own the rights, get those tapes to the folks that may want to reissue them! That would be a wonderful thing.

Lolita Nation, Where Art Thou?

Yesterday I was reminded that today is the 20th anniversary of the release of Game Theory's critically acclaimed album Lolita Nation. Thanks to Steve for consistently carrying the GT/LF torch! He wrote a very sweet blog in remembrance of this event here:

Wow, feelings rush all over me watching that wonderful slide show! Not a bad live performance, either. But a nagging question gets stuck in my head whenever I think about that time, those people, that album: Where in the hell is it?

That was rhetorical of course, because most fans and myself know exactly where it is. It is in the hands of an ex-manager's of Scott Miller/Game Theory, probably lost underneath a stack of other stuff in a basement in some town where-ever this guy lives. Apparently he owns the master tapes, and has been contacted more than once by other record labels large and small. I believe Scott had even tried to discuss this with him, but to no avail.

I have no earthly idea as to why he is being unresponsive to the queries. Could it be that he's holding out to maximize his monetary take on this? Is he super busy and just cannot find the time to deal with it? Has he lost them? Maybe he just doesn't give a shit. But that sad thing is, many people do and the longer he waits, the fewer will care.

If he's holding out for more dough, he needs to consider this; about 10 years ago, this impossible to find CD was going for as much as $200 on e-bay. Last week, Stacey told me that Amoeba Records sold one for $80. Not exactly appreciation.

Face it, no one is going to get rich on a reissue of this CD. I would not be surprised if a bit of money might be lost in releasing it, but that's not why it should be released. It should be released because it would make a relatively small group of people very happy. That's it. That is enough.

As a performer on that record, I would be thrilled to hear it remastered. The whole band worked very hard to get Scott's epic on tape. It's a crazy record! None of us had ever attempted this kind of experimental stuff before. Scott had a wonderfully unique and unfaltering vision and looking back, I thank my lucky stars that I was able to be part of it (even though at the time I made my voice known that I thought a more concise single LP would be a much better follow up to The Big Shot Chronicles!).

I also think this record is a fan favorite and I believe it was our best seller. The follow-up tour was very successful (even though we made no money!) and probably contained our best performances as a band. I was startled to drive into a town and see fans lined up to gain entrance to the club we were going to play! I found it odd that people would recognize me and ask for an autograph! This record meant a lot to many people, and I think it still does, but the further we get away from it, what shiny sparkle that still shines will soon dissipate as memories, relevance, and interest slowly drift away.

That's the damn shame about all of this. It could all just...go away. Mr. Ex-manager, please make a few folks happy and do what needs to be done to re-release Lolita Nation. The longer you wait, the fewer will care. It's not about money. Good Lord, Game Theory was never about money. It's about a masterpiece that flowed out of Scott Miller in 1987, and that, my friend, was a very good year.