January 29, 2007

Songs You Don't Expect To Hear On A Saturday Night At The Local Watering Hole

So anyway, I used to try, occassionally, to get over my stage fright and sing and play guitar in public. One night -- about ten years ago -- I played a song on an open-mic night at a local bar and grille. The band was me (guitar, vocal), Tex Kaliber (guitar), Big Egg (bass guitar) and Monk (drums).
(Tex is a drummer, mainly, but he, Egg and I had to practice the night before without Monk 'cuz we were gonna surprise him and borrow him from the bar's house band.)

Anywho, we played Sinead O'Connor's "Last Day of Our Aquaintance". It was pretty close to her version, but with a few bells and whistles.

This is the kind of lyric, sound and melody that seems to grab people when they first hear it. As I sung the first few verses slowly, I could see, out of the corner of my eye, at least two couples holding hands.

Y'know how at a Jewish wedding there's a toast made to the newlyweds and then they smash the glasses? Well, this song is about a divorce. So, what's the obvious way to end this song? Heh.

After the initial soft run-through, we kicked on the distortion peddles and made loud angry mayhem for two more verses. Then back to a soft verse. Then the loud coda, in which I rammed a drum stick up my guitar's neck and then grabbed a second drumstick and pounded on the first, on beat, trying to break the strings. (Broke only half of 'em.)

Two of my best friends were going through a seperation and eventual divorce. He opted out and she was heartbroken. I sang it for her.

It was quite an intense performance. Tex, Big Egg and Monk nailed their parts. We rocked, and the clubbers were into it. That night is my second or third most favorite memory as a live performer.

Anywhy, here is an excellent live version of Sinead O'Connor singing the $#!t out of her great song, "Last Day of Our Aquaintance":

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:36 PM | Comments (164) | TrackBack

January 17, 2007

To be an ever-opening flower

Back in the days: I was 14-years-old and thought that KISS was the bees' knees. But, my friend Patrick was a YES fan. So, he disagreed.

"Who the @#$% is 'YES'?", I would've asked if I was a swearin' kinda guy.

"Why, they're the greatest band in the world," Pat replied professorially.

So, eventually, I got around to handing him a cheap, RadioShack Realistic 120-minute cassette tape and asked him to record some YES stuff for me.

And so he did.

He filled the tape and then had the nerve to complain that it wasn't enough tape to present YES to me.

Alone, in my room, I popped in the cassette tape. I heard some strange, understated gurgling noise. (It was probably an Australian digerydoo or something or however you spell it...)

Then, the loud strains of a frickin' church organ are blaring omenously. Then the bass wend it's way through the organ and then the drums go **smack!!** and then the electric guitar chimes in sounding like a hummingbird on speed.


That was, in order: Rick Wakeman (keyboards), Chris Squire (bass guitar), Alan White (drums), Steve Howe (lead guitar).

Then, after I've been doubting already what I was hearing, comes this voice. This angelic male voice singing like he was Gabriel having a bad day. That was Jon Anderson (lead vocal).

The tape got even better from there, and I've been a YES fan ever since.

Here they are Jon, Steve, Rick, Chris and Alan playing the first YES song I ever heard, Parallels, live, in 1977, complete with their minute-long show-opening fanfare:

And/or, sing along:

When you've tried most everything and nothing's taking you higher.
When you come to realize, you've been playing with fire.
Hear me when I say to you, it's really down to your heart.

It's the beginning of a new love in sight.
You've got the way to make it all happen.
Set it spinning, turning roundabout.
Create a new dimension.

When we are winning we can stop and shout;
making love towards perfection.

I've been all around the world and seen so many faces.
Young and old, the story told, filling in my spaces.
Now, without a trace of doubt, I feel it every hour.

It's the beginning of a new love inside.
Could be an ever-opening flower.
No hesitation when we're all about
to build a shining tower.
No explanations need to work it out.
You know we've got the power.

Parallel our sights.
And we will find that we, we need to be where we belong.
Parallel our heights
display our rights and wrongs and always keep it

It's the beginning of a new love in sight.
It could be an ever-opening flower.
No explanations need to work it out.
You know we've got the power.

It's the beginning of a new love inside.
You've got the way to make it all happen.
Set it spinning, turning roundabout.
Create a new dimension.
When we are winning we can stop and shout,
making love towards perfection.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:47 PM | Comments (1021) | TrackBack

January 16, 2007

Man, I'm Tired

Making the switch from 1st shift to 2nd shift was a piece of cake compared to making the switch back to 1st shift.

Instead of trying to get up a few hours earlier every day over the weekend, I slept longer and stayed up longer. I got out of bed at 8pm on Sunday and went to work at 10am on Monday.

You know how when you're really tired and you just wanna go home and crash? Well, this was me hitting the mattress last night:

Slept like a log.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:56 PM | Comments (1360) | TrackBack

January 13, 2007

More Trouble In Paradise?

Looks like Queen Nancy is ruffling some of her fellow Democrats' feathers again. In her misguided rush to push a truckload of legislation through in the arbitrary deadline of the "First 100 Hours", she's alienating the mebers of commitees that would like to, oh, you know, maybe discuss the legislation first. Story here.

January 12, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - Powerhouse New York Rep. Charles Rangel is butting heads with fellow Democrat Nancy Pelosi just a week into the new Congress controlled by their party, The Post has learned.

Rangel yesterday swatted down a tax hike that Pelosi has floated, and he made an end run around her decision to bypass House committees in a rush to bring bills to a vote.

"There's a lot of tension there," one Democratic lawmaker said of the relationship between Rangel and Pelosi.

Peolosi says, "We're gonna repeal the tax cuts" and Rengel says, "Says who?".

Rangel, who took over the powerful Ways and Means Committee after 36 years in Congress, smacked down the idea Pelosi raised on Sunday of repealing tax cuts for those earning more than $500,000 per year.

"We haven't gotten that far to be talking about tax increases," Rangel told The Post. "She hasn't discussed it with me . . . We haven't gotten into tax policy."

Ever the demogogue, her Highness... well, you could see THIS coming:

Pelosi had said nixing tax cuts for half-million-dollar earners "might be more important to the American people than ignoring the educational and health needs of America's children."

But Rangel, whose committee handles tax policy, dismissed Pelosi's idea as unlikely to happen, since the speaker didn't bother to vet it with him in advance.

"Saying it to me in private is far more important than whatever she says nationally," he huffed, referring to her weekend TV appearance.

I get the feeling that Rengel doesn't like getting his new chairmanship just in time to be frozen out of the process:

In another swat at Pelosi, Rangel sided with Republican lawmakers by opposing his leadership's high-profile push to jam through legislation in the first 100 hours of Democratic rule.

Pelosi decreed that none of the early legislation would go through the normal committee process, hoping to keep her party in lockstep to enact key agenda items and boost her own and the party's national image.

"I don't think the chairman [Rangel] likes the idea that there were no hearings on a lot of the bills that were coming up in the 100 hours," said the Democratic lawmaker.

Sources say Rangel went to Pelosi urging that his committee be allowed to review legislation allowing the feds to negotiate with drug companies over prices and taking away tax breaks for big oil companies - but she refused.

Rangel got around her by setting up closed-door committee forums that were essentially hearings anyway.

Well, it's time to refresh the Speaker's memory that committees are a part of **...drumroll...** How a Bill Becomes a Law:

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:13 PM | Comments (352) | TrackBack

January 06, 2007

Video of the DayWeek

Back in the '60s, The Remains was a band based out of Boston who were pretty popular in New England -- so I've read. They made it all the way to New York to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed this song, "Let Me Through", sometime in '65 or '66. They even went on to open for The Beatles on their last tour in '66. Then they broke up.

I've never heard of this song until today. Apparantly it was newly written by their singer and guitarist Barry Tashian. They had just learned it and, as it turns out, never recorded it, so this may be the only version of the song available in any form.

One thing about The Remains is that, to my ear, their songs are very derivative of the popular bands of the time. One song will sound like The Beatles, the next will sound like The Rolling Stones and the next will sound like The Yardbirds.

It sounds like Tashian wrote this one after staying up all night listening to The Kinks.

Not one of their best songs or performances (the timing gets a little shaky at times), but it rocks, and there is some interesting guitar work near the end. And, if you're any semblence of a guitar player or a songwriter, you'll hear some pretty quirky stuff for it's time.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:27 PM | Comments (1097) | TrackBack

January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!


May 2007 make more sense than 2006.

And, for your New Year's YouTube experience: here is Chicago and the Beach Boys' Wishing You Were Here, New Year's Eve, '74/'75. Enjoy! :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:01 PM | Comments (165) | TrackBack
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