Rob Reid Takes Philadelphia by Snowstorm


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"Here's to the robot who took my job..."

Rob Reid, that reliable rascal, was here Tuesday, & we put on a hell of a show at the Satellite Coffeehouse in West Philadelphia that night. I mean, those five people were really enjoying themselves, even the baby. (Yes, a real baby came to see us! And with all that snow on the ground! That's dedication.)

(above picture is Rob's percussion set-up seen from the stage)

"I'm glad I could be automated. I felt like a robot anyway..."

Rob brought his own kitchenware with him & a tiny guitar. And his loop pedal (the robot who helps him do his job). These pictures were taken with my cell phone camera, which is a pretty poor piece of machinery. Sadly, no pictures of us dragging equipment through the snow drifts. (A bad mistake, by the way. Rob sprang for the cab home: $4 plus tip.)

Rob & Zhenya & I went back to our place, had a couple bottles of Bell's Kalamazoo Stout (not a bad little stout), and looked at pictures of cities, especially a cd of Detroit that Rob was packing, and some Philly shots i have on my hard drive.

(above: Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia,
looking east from the top of Calvary Church at 48th & Baltimore)

The next morning i accompanied Rob to the Greyhound station via the Reading Terminal Market, where Rob purchased a banana for the bus ride. Then he was gone.

Me texting Rob the morning of the show: Very important. How do you take your coffee? Milk? Cream? Haffenhaff?

Rob texting me back: i don't drink coffee, but in social settings i like to carry an empty mug. ShareThis

The amazing Peter Mayer


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Greetings to all!

Just going to put up a quick post on this particular day. It is obviously an holiday for many, therefore this relates, sort of.

Now I don't often remember to listen to Peter Mayer (singer-songwriter from Minnesota), or at least enough. That's my first problem. However, with the snow nearly being washed away here in Chicago from the rains of the past 35 hours, I am recalling a time when I saw Peter Mayer in central Minnesota in the winter of 2002 at a lodge on the grounds of a Lutheran summer camp and retreat center, to be exact, it was the Luther Crest Retreat Center in Alexandria, Minnesota (located in an amazing region of that State of Minnesota with its clusters of beautiful lakes). The snow was falling that night when some acquaintances and I went to see him. It was another magical night. I certainly wish that the snow were falling today on this here Dec 25 2009, as it was on that night in the winter of 2002. I have failed, since, in my desire to see Peter Mayer perform again, hopefully that can change soon.

There was actually a time, in the middle part of this soon departing decade, when Peter Mayer didn't know if he would be able to play guitar anymore due to advanced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or a disorder akin to that. During that period, he would play shows with a local Minnesotan guitarist, Dan Schwartz. Dan played the guitar and Peter sang. I believe Peter even tried alternative medical therapies to address the pain in his hand, acupuncture, occupational therapy (I assume), Yoga, Pomegranate tea (just kidding!), and the like. Somehow things have improved with his hand, which I assume was his left hand judging from the strap on his left hand as can be seen on this video posted below.

This fella is great to catch if you see him with a tour date near your home or in your city. Another great memory of Peter Mayer was catching him at Marine Town Hall in a town called Marine on St. Croix along the St. Croix River, northeast of the Twin Cities area, it was late Summer 2003. That drive, also, was amazing when going to the show, the warm summer's day in eastern Minnesota that it was. I'll never forget hearing one chap say to his friend, as both were leaving the venue after the performance, "I've gotta finish that album I've been working on.". Alot of us feel that way, don't we? Especially after seeing a Master or Sensei like Peter Mayer in the flesh. That'll quickly sober up a writer's-blocked songwriter in a jiffy.

For the locals in the Chicagoland area, Peter is playing in Northbrook, Illinois (northern suburb) this upcoming January 30, 2010 (Saturday). Tickets are $25.00, the show is at The Northbrook Leisure Center. I am sad I won't make it as I'll be playing some shows with my band in Michigan that weekend. He often stops by Valparaiso, Indiana to play a few nights at Front Porch Music. In the meantime, here is a video of a song that might fit with the holiday.

Thanks for reading!

Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Adam Faucett blew out his voice one night in June 2009 and I lived to tell the story


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He lives to sing.

Perhaps every entry I develop and submit reminds me of exactly why this blog exists: to be a vehicle and a conduit for getting good music across to a more broad audience. Here, in this particular entry, I have some words to share about Adam Faucett. It was a pleasure to host him with some friends one day last June 2009, the 5th, to be exact. Some nights are so shockingly brilliant, a person has to write about them, just that they might perdure. I'm hoping to do just that with this posting. The story follows below.

To frame this properly and give some context, the audience that given night was completely different than any kind Adam had ever played to before. I suppose every night is like this. This show took place at my job, so I think all of us, musicians and audience alike, had some trepidation going into this. And, much to our delight, it worked out extraordinarily well for all involved.

If there were a snapshot of me from late this morning, I could've been seen reading a little article from Tape-Op magazine about how music and the brain interact with each other, in the process of creating music, editing new songs in one's notebook, listening, re-listening, and performing, etc. There was a brief segment of the interview/conversation that dealt with the emotions in humans. At the time of this writing, it is once again music that is the victor or hero, this evening in my life. Things aren't right at the moment and music seems to be tipping the scales so that matters can get realigned. Part of that process of calibrating the emotions, tonight, involves listening to a song, which will be depicted in the video for this blog posting, 'No More Story'. It is the right song, the right cadence, and it is the right prescription for now. So the author of the song and the performer in the video need to be discussed.

Adam is another one that, when I watch him perform live, I wish i could play and sing as well as he. The experience of listening to Adam, if one were to take a moment to step back for awhile after hearing a few songs, often situates a person into a state of being grateful to have come across such good songs in a lifetime. Once again, the story is repeated that there exists a body of song in this world, written and unwritten, that astounds and that is not heard enough of. These songs from Faucett cause a man to shake the head in disbelief. Slap the face to wake up from a dream. It is probably the voice. Its dynamism. Couple that also with the fingerpickin' on the guitar. The J-45. The patterns of arrangement, the construction of the melodies. The mood. Mix it all together and a person could come up with some of the reason why this man's music is important. But undoubtedly, Mr. Faucett can craft a song, tell a story. Just knowing Adam and encountering him, a person can tell a good story.

I cannot wait to see the trajectory of this man in the coming years because the story isn't going to conclude anytime soon. From Hotti Biscotti to where? I'm looking forward to it. He recently completed a lengthy 8-week stint (Sept into early Nov 2009) of touring with his backing band, Chad Conder on drums and Jonny D on the bass guitar. I didn't have occasion to watch their show at the Gallery Cabaret due to my line of work preventing such good fortune, but I hear the tour, in general, was a real outing that took them across the the span of the country, one coast to the next. Surely they had great nights where all parts of the band were dialed in, as it is often said. Shame I missed it. Last time I heard the band in full was at a house show in Russellville, Arkansas in Aug 2008, They blew me away then.

About this show from June 5 2009, I'll be working hard to get it posted online soon, in the mp3 format. Stay tuned to this here blog for the updates. I heard from my bandmate that Adam recalled blowing out his voice on a song that he shouted during that moment of the night when the crowd just can't let go of the magic: the encore. I believe it was a soul song, might have been funk, but Adam rendered it using the acapella method. I am embarrassed that I can't bring the name to mind. It was the kind of thing that might equate to eating a wonderful dessert item from The Bleeding Heart Bakery on Belmont at Damen, which used to be near the old Lithuanian grocer on Chicago by Damen, their desserts finish off the coffee really well, they also conclude a meal in an profound way. Adam's encore was no exception, it rounded off, nicely, the audience's collective music palette, that one special evening in Skokie. Got some photos to show, too.

There's William Blackart right behind the blurred Adam Faucett during his impromptu encore.

Adam was traveling with William Blackart that night. They both played a set and brought some good friends along, as well. The apprehension I felt about the night was because I wanted these guys to have a great show. I just didn't know if the folks at my job would be a receptive crowd. All of the feeling quickly dissipated within minutes of Adam and William arriving and meeting the folks I work closely with. As I get to realizing that the seasons just changed by calendar, we are now freshly into the vernal equinox. The snow is on the ground and more is falling right now as I edit. I was waiting for the change of seasons, for the snow, and now it is here. It is also about due time that I see Adam perform again. This season of not having seen Adam Faucett and his band perform in a while has now passed. I better go reference his tour dates. I will be waiting for the next time Adam rolls on into town with Chad and Jonny D.

Everyone, please enjoy! Thank you for reading.

Mr. Whiskers

oh,'s a photo from said house show in Russellville, Arkansas August 2008

p.s. A special 'Thank You' to Daniel Makos, from Warsaw, Poland, for the permission to use his photos from the show in June 2009.

Adam Faucett - (1 Track) - you'll do it too - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett- 2 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - 3 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (4 Track) - poor directions in rabbits blood - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - 5 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (6 Track)- interlude about Caroline - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - 7 Track - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (8 Track) - no more story - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett - (9 Track) - 5 June 2009 live.mp3
Adam Faucett -(10 Track)- california - 5 June 2009.mp3
Adam Faucett - (11 Track) - 5 June 2009 live.mp3 ShareThis

song for the day



everyone should know eric nassau. his songs are well written, and engaging. his personality is warm. he gives giant hugs, and his smile will stick with you for years. sometimes, when the day is rough, i think of this song, and i cant help but smile.

Jeremiah Weed ShareThis



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Hello to all & any reading this post.

Since i am a stranger in the world of Blogger, i have accidentally created another blog for myself, too: A Dull Thud. Even stranger there.

I am your correspondent (your stringer, if you will) in Philadelphia. I will try to post relevant postings about musical & other cultural goings-on in these parts.

Of note to regular readers of Derelict Songs might be that the illustrious Rob Reid will be breezing through town on the 22nd of December. He & i will be playing that night at The Satellite Coffeehouse, at 50th & Baltimore, in West Philadelphia. This is a familiar venue to two of the contributors to this blog, Chris having played there & Mr Whiskers having enjoyed some sort of sandwich there. (i think it was something with pesto.) At any rate, i look forward to hosting Rob & showing him around the pesto. Rob, if you're reading this, i look forward to showing you around the pesto.

That'll do it tonight.
-bg ShareThis

Ty Maxon 2nd Draft



I wanted to write a review of a show I saw the other day, and I did just that. Only, when I read it back I thought to myself, "I hate it when writers do that!" It was full of fancy words, thoughts about what led up to my excursion to see the show, and in the end, I think I was trying very hard to sound like a writer. If I'm not carefull, I can easily do that again. So let me cut to the chase.

Ty Maxon is great. Go see him perform sometime. He brings Simon and Garfunkel to mind, but there's is a melancholy about it. I saw him Wednesday, 12-9-09 at Underground Lounge with Ryan Suzuka accompanying on harmonica. This is a favorite hangout of mine, and what is lacking in sound-system quality is made up for in gritty ambience. You will be hard pressed to find another bar in Wrigleyville that isn't infested with that very Wrigleyville type that Logan Square types such as myself have come to loathe. However, this little oasis, in it's stinky, underground way, somehow doesn't attract that crowd.

It isn't perhaps the best suited place for a singer-songwriter night, though I find singer-songwriters will play just about anywhere. Like I said, the sound isn't great, and it can be hard to catch what the perfomer said, let alone what he sang. Also, there was an annoying, loud clicking coming from the room with the pool table.

I know Ty has great lyrics. Though I would have liked to hear them better, his melodies enchanted me throughout his set. There were times I thought he must have been singing about something so sad. His song "Dawn is When I Go" grabbed me from the first line and didn't let go till it was over. His album Furthest From the Tree is worth owning. When it's snowing outside, this is what should be playing on your stereo.

I love Ryan Suzuka, and he is brilliant on the harmonic. In this case, though, I would have like to hear a little less of him, just enough so that Ty could have cut through a bit better. But all in all he did a terrific job, and when he played his set, with his soulful voice accompanied by his 6-string ukulele, I got to hear some of my favorites. His banter is adorable, and it's hard not to love him.

What a great night it was! Finished off by Jessica Robbins, I wish there could have been more people there to see them, but the intimacy of the evening was perhaps a contributing factor to the joyful feeling I had when I left that place. ShareThis

Some recent weather scenes in north Chicagoland



(The duck's name is Merle, named after 'The Hag'.) ShareThis

Change in Plans



This was a classic evening for Whiskers. I had a plan to catch the Rob Reid show at the bar called Weeds, he was opening for the local ukulele sensation Populele. The night was Thursday Dec 3 2009. So my traveling companion and I drove on into the city and grabbed the North Avenue bus on toward the intersection of North and Clybourn. We jumped off the bus and onward it was towards the bar. I rather enjoy taking the bus over the new North Avenue bridge spanning the Chicago River. It provides an great view of the downtown region of the city from the bus. Anyway, as the bar grew increasingly closer and closer in sight, it seemed very dark along the street. I thought this was a bit suspect. Indeed it was. A sign was posted on the door that the bar was under renovation and would re-open the next day. Needless to say, the show didn't happen, but I actually had the wrong date in mind. My fault. We laughed it off, made a call to Rob to see if the show was tonight. He confirmed that I was confused, but proceeded to give me instructions on how to have the "Greatest night ever in America, so far.": go to Little Bucharest bistro on Elston Avenue to watch Alfonso Ponticelli. Ponticelli is apparently playing every Thursday night at the restaurant from here on until further notice.

Alright, so I thought it was a bar that we were going to. Turns out I had to actually spend money at this place, which was not a problem at all, I just didn't listen well enough to Rob's description. Besides writing this little piece about Alfonso Ponticelli, I should really Yelp about the restaurant since it set me off on a good course that night. I could probably go on and on about the restaurant and the human component to the place. My advice: just go and take a date or a friend, or three, and enjoy a night with Ponticelli, on any given Thursday. A person would be hard-pressed to regret for having gone.

Plan A didn't work and I needed a miracle. Laughing it off can only work so much before the emptiness of it doesn't replace the fact that the original plan didn't pan out. Plan B worked. And I should've known better, that any time I see Ponticelli perform, the night always gets the label 'Remarkable', in the discussion afterwards. Typically I see Ponticelli at the Green Mill on Lawrence and Broadway during his usual Wednesday night residency. This given night was the exception, not only did I see him in another setting, but also his configuration was as a Trio (Jason Miller on rhythm, Alfonso on lead, and, I think, Lou Marini on upright bass...still needing to fact check this.). UPDATE: The bassist must've been Beau Sample, who is listed on the band's website: Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan. I kind of had a hunch it wasn't Louie Marini just by looking at posture and coolness factor.

(My only decent photo from the night.)

And now a clip from the night. My fellow adventurer and I tried to snap video in a less than conspicuous manner, I don't think we were successful in the least. But we did manage to create a pretty cheezy table setting so that these videos could be salvaged, well at least to my eyes (note the removal of table accouterments from seconds 2 to seconds 5 in the filming - very classy). The alternative is that I could've left the camera in my coat pocket and flipped the camera on to only capture the audio. So here is a nice glimpse into the world of Alfonso Ponticelli and his trio format while doing the weekly performances at Little Bohemia.

As with many other guitarists and musicians, Ponticelli fits into that category of folks that, once they start playing, I really realize the true effect of music on our human lives. That particular night, during the given week in which this all took place, hearing Gypsy Jazz on a Thursday was a very tangible celebration of La Dolce Vita.

As for me and my own, I have yet another place that I can take out-of-towners to for an evening in Chicago. Ponticelli at The Green Mill is always an event I keep in mind. For those needing a locale to take guests during the month of December, Ponticelli is always reliable on injecting holiday songs, for guitar, of course, into his sets. And with that statement, I have officially revealed my identity as that sucker that always ambles down the aisle of the department store where one can see a selection of New Age music, and by the press of a button, play 'O Come All Ye Faithful', with the new age acoustic guitar sound.

As I think about it, I don't believe Ponticelli's sound has made it to the department store morass. Sometimes you just have to press the Play button on Derelict Songs blog, give the music a listen, then amble your own way down Elston Avenue to Little Bucharest 3661 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, IL, the Thursday performances start at 9:30PM. For those of you staying at home, bring out the glassware and a bottle of your favorite vino. My traveling partner described the night as their 'Greatest night ever in America, so far.'. For anyone residing in Chicago, enjoying an evening of music as interpreted by Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan, their own next 'Greatest Night ever in America' is very much within grasp.

Thank you for reading!

Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

View #42,983 from band practice


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Just trying to put something up really quickly as I am behind on organizing a few future posts that are already in process. This is quick to do.

Thanks for reading!

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Flying, invasive, non-native Asian Carp fish coming to a Great Lake near you!!!!!


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OK. Some of the format is getting worked out here. This is obviously not a music article, but for the readers that don't pay enough attention to all things fish and wildlife, the links to the videos on this posting are worrying to watch and consider.

Big problem. Asian carp are bottom feeders, they caught the eye of some fish farmers in Mississippi and Arkansas in the 1970's...the video tells the rest. Things might get bad very soon if this pesky fish makes it somehow into the Great Lakes. This is major news in the Chi right now, so bear with me, out of town folks.

Part I

Part II

Things are getting strange right about now...

Thanks for reading and watching. I am worried.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Chris Darby and Friends Singer-Songwriter Night at Phyllis' Musical Inn


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[Chris Darby in late July 2008, Sleeper, Missouri. Chris was recording a demo getting the best sound possible with the most clever of methods in mind.]

In recent weeks I have been watching a considerable amount of televised interviews with Charlie Rose. I work with an intern from a foreign land and I have this crazy notion that there are myriad ways in which a soul can learn and develop a facility with the English language. I often encourage my intern, their friends, and previous interns, with whom I am still in contact, to watch Charlie Rose interviews on his website: One of the interviews I caught about two weeks ago was one in which Charlie interviews Steve Jobs and Jon Lasseter, the director of the Pixar film 'Toy Story' (interview from 1996). I am interested in this Steve Jobs fella because he was ousted from Apple in the 1980's only to be brought back in the 1990's to successfully restore the company to a certain market dominance. The company was viable again, and still is, under Jobs' direction.

The Singer-Songwriter night at Phyllis' Musical Inn coming up on Wed Dec 9 2009 has a story nearing that of the Apple story. There may well be some parallels to draw upon. Chris Darby is a singer-songwriter that has been calling Chicago home for the past 7 years, with the exception of a few remarkable journeys that took him out of the city, of which one should inquire to learn more. Missouri native, the guy has pipes, and he can craft a song that will get you to stop your conversation during the first song of his set. More about his songs in coming entries.

The history of this songwriter night at Phyllis', in my mind, begins with a guy named Craig Moorefield, who is no longer physically present, but certainly is in spirit. Chris is the protagonist now and brings the story to its current sequence. Chris and his friend Rob Reid have taken the night and built upon it with some additional embellishments, much like Steve Jobs did with the Apple company. The night is switched to a Wednesday compared to former times, which was Sunday. There is a program each night with a bio section of every individual on the given night's bill. And there appears to be a core audience that is faithful to show up during each presentation. As this Derelict Songs Blog began to unfold as an rough idea, and I continued to incessantly watch Charlie Rose, I knew that an interview with Chris Darby would be in order, and very captivating. I submitted a list of questions and Chris was prompt to agree to an interview in advance of the next Chris Darby and Friends Singer-Songwriter Night at Phyllis' Musical Inn.

Steve Jobs, in that Charlie Rose interview, shared some great wisdom on the impact of working as a team, with others, when trying to achieve mutually shared goals. In like measure, Chris Darby has a few thoughts on the subject, too. The interview picks up below. I hope you enjoy!

Chris Darby
Singer Songwriter Night Host


1. You have an upcoming Singer Songwriter night on Dec 9 2009, at Phyllis’ Musical Inn. Who will you have on the bill?

The show will feature performances from Steve Leaf, Arthi Meera, Pezzettino (from Milwaukee), Emily White, and Justin Birchard, songwriter for the band ‘Facing Winter’. Everyone will perform a half hour of original music.

2. How do you choose who is best for the bill? How do you get the musicians for each bill, not speaking about phone calls or e-mails here? But how do you conclude in your mind who to ask, what informs that decision or thought process? Going after a theme for each night? Does frequency come into the process?

I give a great deal of thought to each songwriter night. With each night, I try to formulate a show that will be a good experience for both the performers, and the audience. The people I book generally have several things in common. They are hard working, they write well thought out songs, and they are interested in being involved in a musical community in Chicago. How the exact pairing comes about is sort of hard for me to define, and perhaps a bit arbitrary as well. I generally spend some time wondering how each person’s music would sound, before or after another person’s music. If I can imagine it working in my mind, I will set it up that way, and see how it goes. If I can't imagine it, I will see about another spot, or another date. Much of it also has to do with the performer's schedule. For instance, I have been asking Arthi to play one of these nights for several months now, but because of tour obligations with her band, she was unable until now. Regarding frequency, I do try to keep things mixed up, and always look for other people who might be interested in playing. I find that it's easier to keep people coming back to see the shows, if the lineup is always changing, at least a little bit.

3. How did the Singer Songwriter nights come about for you?

To me, music is as much about the sharing of oneself, as it is about the music itself. The two are intertwined to me. I have found bits and pieces of a music community in Chicago since 2002, when I began to be active in the music scene with my band. One goal of the nights was just to bring together all these seemingly separate pieces, and make them a unified whole. By working together, we as humans can create much more than if everyone works separately. I guess the main goal was to help foster a small community of musicians who were already interested in these ideas. Another way to look at it is just me doing my part to keep things happening in Chicago, musically speaking.
Around 2004, my bandmate and i decided that it might be best to play some shows at our house, and invite friends to play as well. This evolved into a truly wonderful house concert series, which became a great vessel to help support touring musicians. It was always a great night when one of these events would happen, simply for the atmosphere of musicians playing songs for the joy of playing the songs. This is the truly great thing about a house concert atmosphere. Once that concert series began to fade, I started to look for other ways, and venues where I could maintain this spirit of friendship and music.
The singer/songwriter night idea came about from a musician named Craig Moorefield, who ran a monthly night at Phyllis’ for over five years. I liked his shows, and I decided to combine that idea with the intimacy of the house shows, to further help out this great community of musicians who are all interested in working hard, and lending a helping hand when appropriate. When Craig moved to New York City, I stepped in, and asked the bar if I might take up the torch, as it were, and continue the nights.

4. What do these events accomplish for you and the musicians participating and attending?

It seems that when people have a full room of attentive people to play to, they feel a great sense of encouragement. When people play on a bill that is full of other interested, and interesting musicians, there is also a sense of encouragement. For me, these nights accomplish much, in that they bring together musicians who might not otherwise have known each other. I believe they also encourage further songwriting, and community building for those involved. I have seen this is action on a couple of occasions, when the performers decided to write an entire new set of songs for the occasion of the songwriter night. This is exactly the sort of thing I had hoped would happen when I first had thought about these nights. Its exciting to see ideas come to fruition sometimes.

5. What do the next few months hold in store for Chris Darby and the music?

I am planning a full US solo tour, beginning in early July of 2010. At this juncture, I am unsure of how long this will take, but my thought is that it will be longer than 6 months. The plan as it stands is that the tour will take place in conjunction with the release of a solo EP, which will be recorded in January.

6. Are there any goals that you are setting for yourself now to achieve by the end of 2010?

Aside from the touring bit, I hope to have some more songs written by the end of next year. If I could play a couple hundred shows by the end of 2010, I would be more than pleased.

7. What part of the creative process, in writing songs – the composing of the music and the designing of the lyrical narrative, presents itself as the biggest challenge for you at this particular time?

Songwriting in general always seems to be a difficult process for me. I will struggle with trying to write progressions, lyrics, and melodies…for months sometimes. Then it will just all click, and ill have several decent songs all at once. I don’t know that any particular field is any more difficult than the other. I do tend to take a lot of time writing and re-writing the words, because good lyrics are hard to come by.

8. Any advice that has been helpful or insightful for you, that you might offer to aspiring musicians?

Go play shows. Research places on the Internet, and go tour for a week or two at a time. Even weekends, if that’s all that you can do. The playing of shows constantly will make you a better musician and performer. This is true in my own case, and in the case of everyone else I know. It is not difficult to find places to play, if you are determined to tour. Play shows, as many as you can.

9. If you could sit down and have a cup of coffee with another musician, irrespective of time period or age, be they alive or dead, who would you be most interested in having a conversation with?

I would say William Blackart, who I consider to be the greatest living songwriter at this time.

10. Any other musicians out there right now, that are unsigned or unnoticed by the masses, that you feel deserve a second or better glance because of their great songs and/or consistently great live shows/performances?

Yes. There are too many to name in this blog post, but one songwriter who comes to mind at the moment is someone I played a show with in Oakland, California once in 2007. His name is Padraic Finbar Hagerty-Hammond. He really has a way with spinning words, and more people should definitely know his name.

Phyllis' Musical Inn
1800 West Division Street
Chicago, IL 60622
Show starts at: 9PM

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Rob Reid is a principled man


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Ever met anyone born of Polish immigrant blood and ancestry that once came to America in hopes of establishing a new life, whose ancestors supported the family by working in the copper mines of northern Michigan? Rob Reid fits that description, as such a person with such a family history. How many world travelers can you count, that you know well, on one hand? Perhaps for some of you it might number higher than 5, I can't think that mine goes any higher. Rob, however, stands out in the fore of those that I can bring to mind when considering such a question.

Rob is a founding member of the progressive enterprise better known as 'Bash', a collection of musicians, real or otherwise, that were focused enough to birth four full-length discs of instrumental music emphasizing percussion and successfully exploring the many moods that can achieved within percussion. I believe, from the stories Rob has told, that it was with the Bash project that he forever damaged his wrists because he was so inspired to play drums and percussion as well as Stewart Copeland, the remarkable drummer of The Police fame.


[Rob Reid plays the South Haven, Michigan Farmer's Market, summer outing 2008. He was a sensation that morning. The crowd loved his set of songs. Rob proceeded to play two more shows that same day, sharing the stage w/ Them Damn Kids.]

Some friends of mine and I have traveled extensively with Rob Reid, throughout the Midwestern United States, playing shows to throngs of espresso machines. It is always a pleasure to travel with this fella. Refers to himself and others as rascals. Ever the student, ever the professor. This rascal can make a broken trip all better. He can turn a bad show going nowhere into a good show with everyone laughing and enjoying life and going somewhere different and better than nowhere.

I have to credit Rob for furthering my interest in jazz guitar. I won't pretend to be anything near Joe Pass, but the sounds of jazz chords and composition really hold my attention these days. It all started with my dad making sure that Grant Green was heard on our new compact disc player back in the late 80's. Rob probably took that early learning, coupled with some VHS video instruction from Brian Setzer, when he played his songs composed with a jazz sensibility, and it quite made me see there is more to the world of guitar than that found in the song Leper Messiah from the remarkable 'Master of Puppets' album. I still love Leper Messiah, but I also indulge in many styles of music, as I hope all of us do.


[Here's Rob on the Summer 2008 outing w/ Them Damn Kids, somewhere in Indiana, south of HWY 30.]

Alot of this music dabbling, for me, is quite a bit personality as well as music. Rob is no exception, and that is all the more reason to not only czech out his upcoming shows, but also his catalog of song. Rob is, indeed, sitting on a newly-pressed album, he just received copies only days ago in the mail. His official record-release shows begin with the first at Weeds by the North and Clybourn Red Line stop in the city of Chicago, IL. It seems to come to mind that he is opening up the night, only to be followed up by another record-releaser, Populele. Stuff is contagious, this record-release biz.

If you need another reason to go see the show, at least consider what it would be to ride home from playing in Fargo, ND southbound on Interstate 94 with two other rascals onward to Chicago, IL, only beginning the trek at about 2AM. Imagine passing east of St. Paul, MN around 5AM listening to Rob Reid scream aloud as he is behind the wheel of the Buick LeSabre in hopes that it would keep the two individuals in the front seat awake. The goal was to just get home to Chicago, after playing the last show of the summer tour: we all just wanted our space and our own beds. It appeared that the auto was moving along rather calmly, then out of nowhere, no warning, no alarm, there it is: Rob Reid screaming behind the wheel just to stay awake. It was certainly a strategy. I think it worked. We didn't crash, we all began to laugh, actually. Driving through Wisconsin was rough that overnight, and not because of the state, it was because of the state of mental and physical health: both were faring poorly as all three in the car were attempting cat naps only to prepare for the next leg of driving, which was the year of the 1-hour driving-shifts experiment. I remember pulling over at some gas station near that Army base in mid-state Wisconsin and purchasing an energy drink called 'Hair of the Dog'. I was worried about what I was drinking, the flavour was foul. I remember the sun on that morning as we pulled over into the Rest Area just north of Madison. The heat began to make its presence known again, as it was summer.

Rob is a storyteller, you see. The man loves the railroads. He loves the empty shell of an abandoned building, he loves taconite. He loves Mexican food from the south side of Milwaukee, WI. He is probably from another time. Better catch him before he has to go back to that other time period, and one can be assured that he will take his collection of terrific fedoras with him. Where can you see him next? Note the following:

Saturday, December 5
1555 N. Dayton
(312) 943-7815
starts at approx. 9:30 PM
(opening for Populele)

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Tuesday December 29, 2009
Uncommon Ground
3800 North Clark Street
8:00 pm
(sharing a bill with Them Damn Kids)
[note: this business encourages all in attendance to support by getting a beer or food. a tip jar gets passed around for each band, as well. Be forewarned!]

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Rob's website is:

[additional note: I am still figuring out how to add mp3's to this blog. I'll get it 'fore too long. In the meantime, visit the websites of the bands listed.]

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Holiday Tip: Beware the Mulled Wine



Holiday Tip: Beware the Mulled Wine: "The classic Scandinavian Christmas drink is warm and spicy, but be careful--it's very, very strong...." ShareThis

A First for the New Month!!!


Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages, it snowed for the first time yesterday in north Chicagoland! I made an attempt to document the activity, in particular, because the snow coming down with the backdrop of a near full moon made for a perfect tonic. I immediately jumped on the Edens Expressway, after taking this brief video, traveling toward the city of Chicago and soon realized that the snow in the north was clearly what is most often termed as 'Lake Effect Snow'. As my traveling companion and I inched our way into the city, less snow was falling. Upon reaching my apartment, I asked my roommate about the winter weather up near Door County in northern Wisconsin, they are a native of the region, and they indicated that the peninsula receives a considerable amount more by virtue of being surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan. The wind, the cold air, and the water come together to put on one of the greatest shows on Earth during these winter months. It occurred to me, that this is one more reason why I have enjoyed the change of seasons from autumn to winter here in the Upper Midwest. Last winter, I should've counted the number of days that I noticed flurries that fell throughout the length of the season. There was not any accumulation to mention last night, but it was a perfect point of entry for this particular and favorite kind of weather activity for the season. Enjoy the video!

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Changing One's Name


I have been dying to publish this video, or at least provide the link. I suppose some reasoning may provide a bit of back story. In the late 80's a relative had lived in Miami, Florida for a year or two. I had gone down there to visit, at least once, with parts of my family, it was very excellent to go and explore. This took place at a time when I was a rabid Miami Vice fan. Along came Michael Mann with his television show and the movie 'Band of the Hand', and for the young impressionable chap that I was back then, I was hooked. Bob Dylan had a song on the soundtrack for the movie, a song I will remember for as long as I live, 'It's Hell Time Man'. (Now I am thinking about Hibbing, MN. I have to remain focused.). For today, I'll stick to the southern part of the United States as regards geographical and musicial focus. No matter, the song often starts playing in my head, at times when least expected, and it is always a pleasing noise in my brain. It's a good one, hope y'all enjoy.

Ridiculous factoid: Izzy, the two-bit informant on the show 'Miami Vice', apparently was also one of the actors(Martin Ferrero) in 'Jurassic Park' (a movie I have yet to see). There was a program on the Weather Channel recently about how the filming of Jurassic Park was disrupted in Hawaii because of a substantial hurricane that caused a good deal of damage to the area where filming was taking place. The guy who had played Izzy, actor Martin Ferrero, said he and his wife were worried about their son, at the time of the hurricane, because the son has Autism and suffers from a seizure disorder, it was feared that the son's disorder might get triggered by the hurricane. No problems occurred amazingly enough, they were glad to report.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

The Sometimes Family at Subterranean 11/29/09


The Sometimes Family is a five-piece Soul/Folk band, based in Chicago, IL. They derive their sound from a combination of guitar, flute, organ, bass, drums, and four vocal parts. This assortment of instruments lends itself nicely toward the soul sound that made up a good portion of popular music in the sixties and early seventies.
I have seen this band play on numerous occasions in the last couple of years. In any given month, you can find them playing at any one of Chicago’s storied venues. Tonight was no exception. One only has to have a couple of conversations with local musicians in order to learn about how the Subterranean was once used as a hideout for Al Capone, and other gangsters of note. If you ever get the chance to see the green room at this place, you won’t find it hard to imagine yourself sitting around with a few other mobsters, drinking illegal whiskey, and waiting for the next plan of action to unfold, as weaponry might be readied for the next shootout, which of course, could have been at any given moment.
This is really a great image to keep in mind when seeing bands play there, or if you should ever have the good fortune of playing there yourself.
Having seen this band a number of times before, I already knew most of the set by heart, and could certainly sing along with nearly every song that was played.
Somehow, this band still managed to blow me away. This might be the first time I could say this particular phrase about this particular band.
Perhaps it was due to the incredible sound at the venue. The person who was running sound really knew what he was doing, in order to get the best sound out of the system. One of my biggest annoyances is going to a club, and having the sound cranked way too high for anyone to really enjoy what is happening. The sound here was loud, sure, but not deafening. It was appreciated. Also, I was able to hear the organ parts more distinctly than at other venues where I have seen this band.
Perhaps it was the change of drummers. Although it has been several months since this change was made, I have not really seen them play with the new drummer. He really adds a lot to the band, and he is very much in tune with everything that is happening.
But mostly, I think that it just happened to be a combination of all factors together in one place, at one time. This band is tight. You can tell by listening to them that they either must put in an incredible amount of time rehearsing the songs, or just have incredible musical chemistry. My hunch is both. They smile, and interact with each other on stage. From an outside eye, it seems that it would be a great deal of fun to play in this band. It is a good thing to see a band smile at each other, and to the crowd.
The crowd was an intimate gathering of around thirty. The folks who were there really enjoyed themselves, even getting into the spirit with occasional dance moves (a rarity in Chicago), and also calling out for an encore after the set was over.
The highlight of the evening, for me, was a song played somewhere near the end, which I believe was called ‘on and on’. I hadn’t heard it before, but it really resounded deeply with me. I started to get a feeling that I had been transported back in time, to a club a few decades ago, and that if The Sometimes Family were to keep playing songs for several more hours, I think I could lose myself completely in their sound.
This quintet of Chicago musicians really has something special to offer the city’s music scene, and lovers of live music would be wise to take a listen.

-all photos courtesy of David Sameshima. One can find David's photos of The Sometimes Family compiled here, a Flickr website.


1. Stand Up
2. It's Slow, but it Feels Alright
3. Apocalyptic Rap
4. Love
5. Put your Hands Together
6. Pockets and Peppermint
7. If its Love
8. On and On
9. It's a Wonder


10. Shallow ShareThis

Hungry Jack Outfitters



I have been intending to insert a few videos of my taking a break this week, actually in the city of Chicago. Classic November cold, rainy day kind of activity. But I can't seem to track down my memory card extractor device. What are those things referred to as? Either way, here's a brief entry that covers a few interests of mine: guitar and the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota.

I've been trying to figure out, through some very cursory research, greater information on northern Minnesota, for a possible relocation in the distant future. In doing so, sometime in December of 2008, I encountered this website of a fella that runs a canoe outfitter north east of Duluth, MN. The name of his operation is Hungry Jack Outfitters. The business is family run and is situated on the shores of Hungry Jack lake by the Canadian border.

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Anyway, you might give this guy's blog a glance, if you are interested. He apparently crafts guitars in the winter time when everything shuts down. I'm still investigating. Hopefully I can take a week up there to just volunteer or embark on a trip of some sorts among those remarkable lakes. He might change his mind if he catches wind of this blog that I have begun to keep.


Nathaniel Seer - performing at Uncommon Ground 2 on Saturday Nov 21 2009


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It is a weekend of music this time around for Chicago, as it is, really, any day. I would need to tri-locate to make the shows of four acts that have informed me of their shows on Saturday in Chicago. I can't do it, but I can put up a quick post, though. I'll have to leave it at this.

There is a picture I have here, and it is of Nathaniel Seer. I had the good fortune of hosting him last night after his performance. This is a bit of a teaser, the photo isn't the best in quality, but it captures a spirit, and that is mattering most. More to come later on Nathaniel Seer!!!

Where: Uncommon Ground 2
Address: 1401 West Devon Ave
Show time: 10PM-10:45PM
Cost: more than likely there will be a request for a donation nearing $10
Reservations: Yes! Make reservations by calling 773-465-9801

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...and the photo of Nathaniel Seer

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"Pal, I'd rather be hurt than paid.".


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I just finished this brief interview on the You Tube and it was the last few seconds that convinced me that it needs to be posted on a blog that generally focuses on music, and its pursuit.


Over the Weekend...



Here's a snap from Sunday Nov 15 2009. Spent the weekend with some of my band mates and a great engineer and his wonderful dogs, rescue dogs, actually. The activity that occurred over the time spent was equal to that of medicine for a soul that was under the weather, perhaps a tinge anemic. The canine in the photo truly did not care for photography, especially when the lens was aimed at it specifically. The dog had great personality and reminded me far too much of my legendary dog, Cliff. Doesn't pop culture usually follow with the quote, "Sniff, sniff."? Just mention Cliff and I'll pretty much be distracted from what I am involved in when the name gets mentioned. Nevertheless, a weekend hanging out with a dog that has a bit of the Akita breed in it, is the kind of activity I would not hesitate to sign up for. And on top of that, the dog had visible graying hair in the face. Excellent. I also was having loads of fun recording some pieces with one of the bands in my life, which was the primary focus. The whole weekend was a great thrill, I can vouch for the band that it was the same for all involved. A consistent thread, almost overwhelmingly, that has come before my eyes in seemingly everything I am doing or reading or hearing, in the past two weeks, is this simple message about the importance, and it has a quality of imperative attached to it, of pursuing the things that one is passionate about. There are very lucid memories of peak moments from the weekend when the band was recording, when I was reminded of how music is very much a tangible and intangible passion in life, for myself, all band mates, and the friends/acquaintances that I wish to report on through this mechanism of the blog. Roses now, but I also know that passion wanes and goes through its seasons. I suppose now it is fair weather. Soon, surely, there will be passion that will have run low on fuel. Maybe this is another reason for the blog, to talk about it, and let's others talk about through it their words or their songs. Just trying to be honest with this qualification. I have gone through a number of cycles with this passion and this pursuit, I can only hope that I have somehow learned how to preserve a core piece of what makes me feel inspired and charged up when I hear music that stirs me, the same music that makes me want to make music, all the while somehow ending up on the other side of having forged a way through the cycles of pursuing one's passion.


- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Living by the lake



Today I was in the middle of one of my regular errands associated with work. This particular errands get me to a location where I can enjoy a remarkable view of Lake Michigan, up close. Today was not any different from any other time that I have seen the lake: always full of surprises in the way viewing the lake takes me away from the day's trials and tribulations, etc. I should make a note to myself that I need to journey once more up along the Circle Tour, just north of Kenosha and Racine, up toward Milwaukee, then the stretch that leads out of Whitefish Bay (it is no surprise that the real estate is expensive there) to Sheboygan and all of the little spoken of places along the coast of Lake Michigan, at least on its western side. The west coast of Michigan is another love affair I'll surely be blogging about before too long. Actually, I'll more than likely post a few items on that come late Jan 2010, as one of the bands I am is hoping to schedule a few weekend runs in that area, specifically South Haven, Michigan.

This blog is becoming an omnibus of sorts, and will probably get out of control. I was fawning over the choppy waters of Lake Michigan about 30 minutes ago with my new little camera device, trying to capture the waves and the change in the weather. Certain moments, when one is watching the lake, really make it clear why the fellas on the Edmund Fitzgerald sank during that horrific November storm (the 'November gales' as the maritime community refers to them) years back. The waters were ferocious today. This body of water is so large it easy to forget that it isn't an ocean. Even the rip currents all along the coast claim human lives each year, they can be so strong.

Well, here is a video clip that I took. The rain was beginning to fall and I had to create a canopy with my hands. In lieu of such detail, one can forgive the little insert of my left hand acting as a buffer from the rain, top left screen. The last thing I need is a rain-damaged camera.


another band practice shot


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I was probably hacking away at the glockenspiel during this section of last night's practice. I have very patient band mates when it's my turn to play glockenspiel. One can often find me laughing at myself when I attempt to play them bells.


The light got me today



Not a great photo, but the burst of light this morning and the crisp northern Illinois air was the perfect morning greeting.


Nice endcap to the evening



A quick photo from band practice last night, in the garage.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis



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Well, now that the funnies have been mentioned, I can carry on with the true intention of the blog. Just another set of today's photos, though, for this entry. As well, I am trying to prepare for a few other notable events coming up in the local Chicago folk music scene, namely a few shows that will be taking place in December 2009. Formulating ideas and further interview questions. This is proving to be a fun exercise. Stay tuned...

I got the Swine flu nasal mist today. I asked if they had flavored ones, the nurses didn't, but it wasn't half that bad after all.

A couple of photos coming up here. The first is a view of Lake Michigan. I have had the pleasure of seeing this particular view for the past four years, always in the autumn season, and always without a camera. Times have changed. Now, that is a great Dylan song that I should put on the blog in the future, 'Times have changed'.


I have been admiring the Asters in bloom this autumn, as well. There were still a few remaining blossoms that I was able to capture on the digital image. Their colours in recent weeks have been beyond brilliant. My newfound interest in perennials has been quite a journey. When I learned of Asters and had nearly immediately begun to see them in the prairies nearby, especially in Lake County, it had been, and still is, a source of excitement because they stand out with their bold statement. The following photo I enjoyed a great bit because of the balance of the the blossoms that are already spent. As Craig Ferguson says, "Oh yeah, that's the good stuff.".

Asters at Northwestern Univ

And I wanted to add another photo of Oak leaves. I was held up by this tree as I was traveling westward along one of the area residential streets. The sunlight was just perfecto for this shot. These oak leaves are so hardy and durable, they rarely go unnoticed. It is always a great moment when I come upon these leaves, either on the trees, or on the floor of the earth. I grew up with a Pin Oak tree in St. Louis, it is a great tree, it was back in my younger years. By all accounts this week, the acorns are overwhelming to clean up after this particular growing season. I guess it is pretty accurate to say that the tree and my family grew up alongside one another.


Stopped the car to snap this



We are always archiving and documenting, aren't we?

The maples have been standing out this week, they are pretty much the last vestige of foliage in these parts of north Chicagoland. There is another tree with a yellowish/golden hue in the caption (right side of the street), just don't have that one figured out yet by name.

The oak leaves grab my attention when I am walking around and have the time to really get a good view of the details. Thought I'd share this. I found this leaf, amongst the many, along the lake shore by Northwestern's campus. Great grey cloudy day. I am trying to put the new camera through its paces. We'll see what I find out as the months advance.

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis

Berlin Wall



Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I can't pretend to know the significance of this event. A former co-worker was from Poland and he remarked a great bit about the history of Europe in this last century for his country. I remember the news as it came over the airwaves with our family's chosen conduit of news information: Tom Brokaw from NBC. I believe CNN was around by that time, but as I came up, my weeknight evenings were spent at table indulging in mom and grandma's delicious food at 5:30PM listening to and watching Tom Brokaw on NBC's Nightly News. Apparently Brokaw went back for today's commemorative events that were scheduled outside the Brandenburg Gate. He is much more grey of hair than he was in 1989. I grew up with him, I remember that voice. It is burned into my mind.

Strange as it is, I also think about Klaus Meine from the German hard rock band The Scorpions. Not only Klaus but the the rest of the band. I saw them in concert with a friend of mine at the now non-existent St. Louis Arena while they were on the 'Tease Me Please Me tour', early 1990's for certain. I can't recall the exact year but I recall sitting stage right and I nearly vividly remember that stage design. I think the Scorps (short for Scorpions) designed a tarantula with their Bon Jovi lights that hung over the stage. The tarantula came down over the band at strategic points during the show. Fun memories. Great show, excellent band.

One song from their album 'Love at First Sting' comes to mind, it is the song 'Crossfire'. Military snare drum beat, metal guitars played through big Marshall stacks (more than likely JCM 800's), and the high-pitched screaching voice. I love Klaus, though. I probably should provide a link to the song 'Winds of Change', but I really have had enough of that song. It is an interesting musical piece for sure, but it was played far too much for my tastes over the radio circuits in St. Louis, Missouri. But with 'Crossfire' I think Klaus is trying to provide a commentary on the situation in Western Germany prior to the Wall's being toppled, perhaps Europe and Eastern Europe, in general. Not necessarily poignant, the song, but perhaps it is. Either way, metal prevails, as do my base instincts. Maybe the shredder guitar just gets into my bones and rattles me a good way. I have no idea.

But with the Berlin Wall falling asunder surely these fellas in the Scorpions must've experienced elation beyond their wildest imaginations. Either way, in this link I'll provide below, you see that most of the band is still intact these days. I think they lost a member or so in the rhythm section, not sure if Herman is still there (didn't do the research). Either way, I love these guys because they are pretty odd to the critical community, but that is precisely the point about music: it is for all, and not just for the critical. Music is for joy and it is ubiquitous. And this band has surely had its share of critics. They don't seem to want to age, their lead singer is a little eccentric, as is one of the guitarists and the singer is balding which typically doesn't bode well with the Metal Music community. It could potentially be a strange experience to see them live. Beyond all of this, they are still doing it. God love 'em for it. Can you imagine the flack they have received over the years? It might have crossed their minds to throw in the towel. I am glad they didn't.

It has been decided that there will be two videos linked for this posting. I kind of enjoy this current video of them playing this past summer 2009 in Gdansk, Poland, the song 'Coming Home'. After watching it in full, it is clear that the rhythm section has been replaced, but the two guitarists and the singer are the same as in the 80's and 90's. The second link provided will apparently be simply the audio of the song 'Crossfire', from the 'Love at First Sting' album, with a picture remaining constant on the screen. It provides audio that is representative of the song to which I am referring. It will serve the purpose effectively enough.

I am realizing that I had hastily put together this Scorpions blog posting, but it was the anniversary that was the primary driver here. I love my 80's metal, however I do still wish to dedicate a larger portion of this blog to bands and other musicians that I have played shows with. I'd have loved to have played a show with Kevin DuBrow and Quiet Riot, but now he is dead from that cocaine overdose last year, so I can pretty confidently assume that I won't be writing about any future shows I would've shared with them. I'll do my best to temper some of the strong impulse that exists within me to carry on continuously about the brilliance of 80's guitar shredders. (please see video attached as a sample)

A posting that I hope to publish by week's end, next week, will hopefully be a nice little interview with a singer-songwriter that will be rolling into town on Nov 21, 2009 (Saturday) to play a show in the northernmost reaches of the city of Chicago. I just got off the phone with this person today and I was, thankfully, able to seek and obtain permission from them to submit interview questions. This is a momentous occasion as it will mark the very first interview with an artist for this here Derelict Songs Blog. I only hope the final product that gets published does the person and their craft justice. It will be informative to go about this project as it will provide early data for how the archetype of these blog interviews will develop and form for subsequent publishings/submissions.

Part of the blog will engage other personal interests. I might draw on a few other ideas that other bloggers employ in their efforts, namely photography. It is all coming around and to a light. Throwing darts. Just throwing darts. Or, pasta.

(creation of the blog was begun on Monday November 9, 2009 - 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall)

Thank you for reading!

- Mr. Whiskers


'Coming Home' live in Gdansk, Poland (June 2009)

'Crossfire' audio from the album 'Love at First Sting', with a still of the album cover


This process begins today


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This has to happen sometime, so I have chosen now as the day or the hour. Goals? How about expectations first. I'd love to provide eloquence and erudition, but I am certain I will fall woefully short of such an endeavor or lofty ambitions. But I suppose the story proceeds that I grew up with my own favorites within what is called 'music'. I'd like to share commentary on songs, or even bodies of song that I might have on repeat play within the confines of my car or my messy bedroom, if you can call it a bedroom.

And so it begins. Mr. Mister. I came up with four older siblings. In growing up, I won't suggest that I was advanced in my pursuit of the underdog band or songwriter, I pretty much took what was fed to me. The bulk of my music came from KSHE 95, the radio station in St. Louis, Missouri (94.7 FM). I hope to continue reflection on KSHE as this blogging process continues and advances. It will more than likely require referencing in subsequent entries. The pink pig with black shades on and headphones. Real Rock Radio.

Mr. Mister. When I think of this group I think of the 80's. I thinkof Miami Vice. 'Vice' is a central piece that figures into my understanding of the 80's. I hope I am still impressionable, but certainly in the first ten years of anyone's life they are impressionable. It was no different for me. With this band I recall the remarkable voice and the song that paid the band members' mortgages, 'Broken Wings'. I have no idea what the song is about, who can truly conjecture what a song is about? But who needs to know true meaning regarding song-smithing? I guess maybe that is the purpose of the blog: I think there needs to be more written about bands that don't get on the more popular blogs. If there isn't a chance to get on more popular blogs, then create one and make it work. I will.

OK. Another tangent, and that suits this blog perfectly well. Currently I am hacking away currently at the bass guitar in two bands, and so when I listen to 'Broken Wings' I hear the beat that is kept by the lead singer/bassist/chief songwriter Richard Page. Cheezeball as ever, that I am. There is no regret.

Commentary is sure to vary. Questions regarding the importance of a certain song will be entertained. Surely reflections on composition will occur. Am I qualified? Absolutely not. I craft songs by sound and not by understanding of theory. I listen in my car to songs because I feel them at the time or during the moment, and most often need them. There won't be easy answers on this blog. There will undoubtedly be easy conclusions that might very well be the very opposite of anything resembling complexity.

Why write about Mr. Mister? And why not? This will be a question to ask of every entry on this blog. Good questions these will be, and they should be asked. Music seems to be attached to time and often to place. Again, Mr. Mister launches me back 23 1/2 years to 1985 when I heard it on the radio. There is nothing remarkable about how I heard the song. The remarkable piece is that the song is still viable for me and always will be. Does this song need to be compared to any other song? Not sure. Does it need to measured? What would be the purpose? And assuredly there are far better questions to ask. No matter, the music moves. And that is probably what it is supposed to do.

What will be the parameters of this enterprise? There are none determined yet. There are certainly some goals that I wish to achieve. As a fledgling musician who plays in a few local outfits already, it is apparent that blogs have rivaled and in many ways surpassed the impact of what 'Rolling Stone' magazine used to be for bands. So one must go with it! Yet there exists a tremendous gap within the genre of the blog, as it has come to exist, and that is what is of greatest concern. I am one that appreciates some of the more popular blogs that come to mind, but none of them can remember the Hoyne show at the Mutiny in Dec of 2003. Believe me, I have tried to find anyone writing a review of that show. I have tried to find photos of Guy Grace playing bass on floor, Dangerous D on the drums and Mike Rizzo belching out the classics from that yet to be produced full-length that the Chicago music community desperately yearns for. What about reviews of those early Dragonfly Red shows at Bar Vertigo on Western Avenue? Is there a living record of these morsels of history? How about Ben Summers solo sets at Uncommon Ground from 2005? Why is this stuff lost? And what has been lost? The bigger blogs can't handle all of it.

The future is promising. Elsinore has added a new member to their fold in 2009. Adam Faucett just finished 7 to 8 weeks of travel with his 3-piece band, stretching across the entire expanse of the country. Bile Greene is back in Philadelphia crafting more precious gems out of that lovely little Vox amp of his. William Blackart just underwent knee surgery, you can count on that man coming up with good material during his convalescence in Russellville, Arkansas. E.P. Hall has a new album coming out this November and is putting on a cd release show in less than two weeks. There are so many more. The parameters are set, I suppose.

Contributors to this blog, I can only hope, will expand and increase in number. Good music is happening everywhere and it isn't getting enough attention. Believe me, to some, the Avett Brothers are still unknowns, but how many more times do we need to read about them on blogs, which by creation are and were supposed to be tools of shouting out loud the merits of new and upcoming bands? This blog may only mention a few of the local favorites in limited amounts, this might be best as I can only hope they gain greater numbers of adherents to their songs and their live shows. It is my hope that I can convince some of my friends/acquaintances/band mates to contribute thoughts to this blog. There won't be a measuring system, there won't be a yardstick, and such a choice and direction is purposeful. It simply isn't an interest of mine, and if this blog is under my e-mail, then maybe that is my only request of my contributors: lay off the harsh criticisms.

Well, another parameter has been cast: the promotion of the lower tier, primarily, but also to reflect on some of the music that moves me and has moved me historically. No apologies if there is an entry about Tom Kiefer's rhythm guitar playing, the singer of the 80's metal band Cinderella. I must define what consists in the lower tier, as a phrase or a description. What does it involve? It is nothing more than bands that are not making it to these other well-known blogs. It is no description or criticism of talent. The talent is there, it just isn't getting the recognition it deserves.

The format, hopefully, will be expansive. Hopefully this blog can provides links to live shows, videos, mp3's (with permission, in most cases), schwag, concert reviews, live webcasts, websites, etc. This blog will concern itself with music and the endeavoring toward making good music ubiquitous.

A few apologies to begin with. I wish I was a creative writer, I am not. Do I read enough? I do not. Will I reference enough film when I provide reviews of concerts? I will not. Will there be order to this? Does there need to be order?

This is not a club. This is borne out of frustration that a band like Facing Winter is not getting enough recognition for the significant work that they are doing and have done. The house show they played in West Chicago in Feb 2009 was incredible, did anybody ever write about it or produce some good, representative photography of the event? Of course not. I was there, but I didn't even think to bring a camera. My fault.

What about that show at the A Zone on Milwaukee Ave with Brown Stuff (John Bellows) sometime in the winter of 2003? The show took place in the basement of the A Zone. The Coughs played there. Fantastic show, first time I had seen The Coughs. Brown Stuff gave away his tapes out of a brown paper bag after the show, only accepted donations. It was a beautiful event. That crowd was not pleased with George W. Bush, as I recall.

Let's get on with this.

First up is a link to the Mr. Mister song 'Broken Wings'. Remember, this blog seeks to provide an outlet. My own posts won't reveal a refined taste in music, it will only reveal what I enjoy and for my own reasons. I will not portend to speak for my fellow contributors, of which there are none currently. I hope by the 58th blog entry I might have 3 contributors on the roster. It is a lofty goal to ask someone to contribute to a blog that references Cinderella in its inaugural blog posting. I know my tastes can tend to separate the wheat from the chaff. I ally myself with the chaff.

Enjoy the blog!


Thank you for reading. Support these bands if they interest you!

- Mr. Whiskers ShareThis