My Top Three Musical Events of 2021

By a country mile unexpectedly getting into playing the electric cello was a huge musical event this year. My wife surprised me by suggesting I learn to play cello and supporting my purchase of a 5 string NS Designs WAV5. The icing on the cake is having my niece teach me over Zoom. She attended U of Oregon in Eugene as a music major, and she is an awesome teacher.

Because my music studio / home office is a tiny room – only 7 by 10 feet – I have to economize on space. My cello doesn’t take up much room, but the bow does! I had to make space. Then, my wife asked if I could record with headphones (I had been miking my Fab Fender Mustang modeling amp). This required a late year revamp of my studio, and the Universal Audio Volt 276 put the ribbon on my studio changes. I love this interface so much I’ve ordered the 476.

Lord Huron blew me away. I’ve always loved “Alt-Americana”, I think since R.E.M. started it, Uncle Tupelo extended it, Blanche twisted it, The Cramps really twisted it, etc.

There were a lot of great Alt-Americana music and new artists featured on KPIG – especially Kianas shows, Radio Free Americana – where you’ll find super music not played elsewhere and YouTube. The Dead Country Radio was a favorite until my favorite shows were removed. But that opened a sort of “goth” sector of Alt-Americana.

Music for me has become as important to me as breathing.

Sole Train

Just one train
Is all it took
To cross the Great Divide
Connect the divided country
From East to West Side

I had a dream about
The Transcontinental train
As it passed through Orinda
On its way to Oakland
On long forgotten cinders

This train is about to roll
Across the U.S.A.
Once and for all I hope
We will settle our differences
We will all learn to cope

Happy Entrails

I’ll paint the big top stripes on next

This weekends Halloween 666 Special #5 will be by far the most macabre of the series, but it will also be the funniest.

Design Drawing

I’m in my own virtual world, but unlike Online virtual world’s, mine has power tools and paint.

Homage a Raoul Hausmann

This Beauty Will Be Adorned Hausmann Style Soon

This balsa wood beauty arrived today and while it was kind of cool, it didn’t have enough contour and the painted on eyes and eyebrows were lackluster. My enhanced photo above makes it way more interesting than reality.

So, out came the Dremel tool, and 10 minutes later:

Much Better: She is Now a He

On the heels of my last photo shoot, (which featured Lenore, my Assemblage paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe and The Raven), I enjoyed it so much, I want to do another similar one.

Lenore of Nevermore

You’ll see the colors and textures of my favorite Dada art pieces …

Fruit of a Long Experience by Max Ernst – 1919

The color and texture of these assemblages really speak to me. Also, the time they were done was right after WWI, and in or around the pandemic. My grandparents, aunt, uncle and father would immigrate from Stuttgart to the US just a few years later.

Mechanical Head: The Spirit of Our Time by Raoul Hausmann

Electricity in every home was new, radio was new, even automobiles were new. Tanks and chemical weapons were used during WWI, and the world was changing in ways that truly set the stage for rapid industrialization of the modern era.

Raoul Hausmann, Spirit of the Age: Mechanical Head

Right after the 1918 pandemic, the world rebounded with an age of prosperity. The Roaring 20’s must have been something.

Ok, a little stain in just the right few spots, and my new wooden head guy will be ready for adornment. I have a few items on the way, but a happy accident happened when I grabbed the gold frame, headsets and Morse Code Telegraph Key. It feels like a nice homage and I do have a title in mind and concept that is a reflection of Hausmann, 100 years later and one pandemic later.

I’ll write about it when this Assemblage is done.

Notebook Graveyard

Today’s song was my usual fun with electronica. It’s always fun to break things up every now and then.

Happy Acres

Welcome to Happy Acres

I got the haunted house painted black yesterday and also built the “Happy Acres” cemetery fence and gate built. I’ll use these for my next several photo shoots. I plan on having one for Autumn / Harvest Season, one for Halloween, and one for Thanksgiving. Then its Christmas and beyond.

Today’s song is meant to be a soundtrack to the cemetery, again, loosely in the Psychobilly vein – but maybe more like a gothic alt-Americana or Dead Country maybe. I had fun with three different Arturia V Collection 8 synth vst patches – using Piano, Solina and Buchla. I tried to create a “haunted music box” piano sound at the end of the song.

If you get tired of evil grifting politicians and greedy businessmen – just remember – there is a special place reserved for each and everyone of them at Happy Acres.

Welcome home
We've been waiting for you
You won't be alone
There's plenty to do

You can't live forever
You were mistaken
We're sure you'll love it
Right hand of satan

Its eerily quiet
Not even a peep
Your friends are buried here
Some are real creeps

We have politicians
And other such fools
Murderers, thieves, swindlers
Just like you

Evil pumpkins will guard
You'll never escape
You'll never go back
Make no mistake

Your place is reserved
In the pits of hell
Too late to repent
You na'er-do-well




Pick Your Poison!

In Life – You Get to Pick Your Own Poison

Today’s photo shoot is about choices we make in life – good or bad. We have a lot more control over what we do than we think – but sometimes its a windy path and a lot of hard work and patience – both seem to have withered with the advent of the Internet and its “always on” and “swipe left or right” instant gratification. At its worst – it encourages a dangerous “Groupthink” that can be downright deadly.

Witness the rise in Covid in Florida and other states (now leading the world) – and this shouldn’t even be happening – we have been blessed with having the vaccine since Spring. Other countries still don’t have it. I’ve been amazed at how people will give up their basic human instincts to stay alive based on something they read, saw or heard on the Internet. But also – how selfish some people are. If they contract a preventable disease that they could have prevented – fuck ’em, the planet needs fewer people. But they have relatives that probably wish they would have made better choices, and more importantly – these selfish bastards are preventing others from being able to go to the hospital – and causing undo stress on first line health care workers.

The Internet was NOT supposed to usher in American Idiocracy – but it has. Its most ironic that the Internet was conceived by people who thought it would make people smarter – not dumber.

Morbid, dark, American Gothic Humor is what keeps me sane regarding this situation . . . Watch the Mike Judge movie “Idiocracy” and also Google “The Church of The Subgenius”. You’ll thank me…

Balcony Bob With His “Friends”
The Nosebleed Seats
Kate and The Killers on KILL Radio
Kate is Scary Good
Make No Bones About it – Kate Can Really Knock ’em Out
Kate and Her Band
Fresh on Shore Leave, Captain Karl and His “Booty”
Jeb! – The Singing Candelabra. Was Once Owned by Liberace. True Story!
Slim is Enjoying Tonight’s Show

The Psychobilly Train

The Train Has Left The Station

I’m really getting into Psychobilly and anything alto country, alt-americana. The more twisted, the better…