Monday, October 31, 2011

The Televators

To make clear what I was talking about in my last post, I joined a band two weeks ago and we played the KISS FM Halloween Party last night in the parking lot behind Nice Rack on Console Dr.
Formerly Galaxy Billiards, in the IH10/Wurzbach area.

It was kinda cold--the fingers didn't respond to half-hearted commands but for the most part my playing was good enough. I only got lost maybe three times and that's not too bad considering how many new songs I had to learn on short notice, with only ONE rehearsal!!

My thanks to Buz for the loan of his super awesome bass amp rig. Despite being in storage for years, everything worked to perfection.

Seven months ago I was at my lowest weight in decades, but things change.
It's a delicate balancing act to get your instrument low enough to look cool while also hiding a fat belly. I failed on both counts.
That's Becky (Bex) on vocals, Jaime Flores on drums, and David McCall on guitar.
We all go way back to my days running sound for The Hitmen, which is how KISS FM mistakenly billed us on radio ads for the show--yet one more humiliating aspect of the last week I'm trying hard to forget.

George and Martha Washington danced to one of our original songs. It was surreal looking out and seeing this, so I'm glad Sylvia got some pics of it.
The tune is rather brutal for the most part, but during the verses my bassline is a gentle rolling melody that combines a kind of Stone Temple Pilots take on Motown with an almost classical music sensibility. When I talked to them after our sets they told me how that particular section of music grabbed their attention as a perfect background for their period dancing. They were awesome.
It was one of those sychronistic things I'll never forget, especially after mentioning the Bicentennial in my last post.

Because I've been so damned busy with the Televators, my Halloween preparations have had to wait until the last minute. Sylvia spotted this decent one-eyed styrofoam skull today and got it for half-off. I added the (real) serrated knife and started on the gore, but the fake blood I have pretty much blows goats. After adding a few coats I realized that the crap I bought needs something fibrous to coagulate upon, so one quarter of a ball of cotton spread around in thin bits saved the day.
It's really gross, even up close:
I had just enough ink left in an old Sharpie™ to black out the missing eye.

Buz's Van parked in our driveway means I probably won't use the "Suddenly backing-up truck with taillights and beeper" gag I invented last year. It was a huge success, causing many kids and parents to jump for their lives while screaming and possibly peeing a little. Oh well...
At least the weather is cooperating.
With daytime temps in the upper '70s I hopefully won't sweat too much going in and out of the house a hundred times setting-up our show for the trick-or-treaters.

Rest assured, some things never change: If you ring OUR doorbell, you had better say "Trick Or Treat!" like you mean it and be wearing a costume worthy of our good candy.
All of the lame treat-grubbing wannabes and sullen teens get a packet of TacoBell™ sauce in their bag. (Sounds the same when it hits the bottom of their bag, yet tastes a bit different...)
There is an implied contract that governs these things--it's out of my hands.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

It's a true enough saying, but there are at least two qualifiers.
You can only attain the level of perfection allowed by your innate skill and talent.
And you need TIME.
Practice takes time, which is often in short supply.

I can only take so many hours a day with headphones clamped to my skull, pounding out heavy rock with twice as many basses as normal in the mix.

Thankfully, the modern world makes learning songs much easier than it was when I started playing back before the Bicentennial.
I'm in front of my PC switching sources from CDs, mp3s, YouTube, and the band's website. A compact mixer and a small tube preamp for my basses take up less space than my old practice amp.

Still, I'm wiped-out and just want tonight's show to be over so I can have some beers and try to forget all the mistakes I'm going to make in front of a big crowd.
I'm scared, and that's a feeling I always used to avoid by practicing enough to really know the material.
But there's just no time...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Judas Priest, Etc

A big thank you to my friend Holly for thinking of me first when her other friend bailed on going to the JP concert.
This was my eighth time seeing the Priest, and since this is their "last" world tour, I'll probably only get to see them a time or two more.
It was a bummer that KK Downing has already retired due to wrist problems, but the new guy looked just like him and played close enough to pass.

This is what corporate boxes look like at the ATT Center. I saw Metallica last year from a similar box, and it's starting to grow on me.
At my age comfort, space, a waiter, and a restroom 20 steps away rate higher than getting slammed by the 'tards around me.

I wasn't impressed by the sound engineer, and clearly Rob Halford is due for retirement. He sounded great for the first ten songs but after that luck had more to do with the results than the soundman's feeble attempts to keep things together.
I totally could have done a better job on the vocals.
The rest of the band was like a well-oiled pile-driving machine, as always.
Hopefully Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society was paying attention--Fast does NOT equal Heavy.
(They sucked)

Thin Lizzy should have played second instead of opening.
They had like 7 huge hit songs, and sounded great.

A Beautiful Mess played in Kerrville tonight, and when we were loading the equipment into the club I spotted a Coleman cooler just like mine except for the colors:
One of the cooks or bartenders is probably confused right about now, because when they got to work their ice chest's lid was white.

I never liked my green lid anyway--this is much better.
It's the kind non-hateful prank I prefer.

For a change the club didn't have it's backyard lit-up with a bunch of halogen floods, so I was able to shoot this view across the Guadalupe river:
The stars at night are big and bright...

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Don't Get It

Spotted on the street yesterday:
The low pants have been out of style for at least three years.
The green hat was like part of a halloween costume.
His T-shirt is still around his neck, but otherwise off. Is it smart to advertise your abs when your re-pregged woman is right behind you?

Except for the shoes (which probably cost the same as a month's supply of baby food and diapers) this clown isn't wearing ANY of his clothes correctly. I would hate to find out that he works in a hospital, although that would be a stretch.
Fry cook?
Even that worries me.

(Sorry, but I'm getting cranky in my old age).

Here's something I knocked out last night:
(The picture, not the whisky). I'm saving it for a special occasion, like an emergency Civil War style amputation or maybe the start of the NBA regular season.

Last night was amazing.
Had to be the worst thunder storm since way before the drought started.
It was scary for awhile, but I loved every minute of it.
Just wish I could figure out how the water got into our garage.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Diamond Knife and Shear

A preview of the site with my photos and be found here.

I'll update this post and add a link over there-->> when it's live on it's own domain.

Frankly, I don't recall taking all those photos. Glad I didn't have to do the post-processing, although I tried to make Steve's job easier by keeping the light levels as close to each other as possible while also insisting on new white paper when the pieces we were using got stained with oil.

Most of the websites that are filled with my photos belong to bands, so this was a nice change of pace for me. It sure was easier, since you don't have to worry about facial expressions and muffin-tops when dealing with steel.

Now that the weather has changed a bit, you can expect a return to normal around here.
I always slow down in the summer, but this was a particularly long and hot one. Rest assured, I'm looking forward to getting out there and shooting what I like again.