Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

So I’ve been playing drums in a band for about five months now. At the moment, we’re a trio: guitar, vocals, drums. If you play bass and want to experience rock ‘n roll mediocrity from the inside, send me an email.

Actually, Jay’s guitar playing impresses me, and Dawn has a great voice. It’s really just me that’s bringing up the rear. In any event, a couple of months ago we started looking for a name.

There’s perhaps nothing more cliched in all the world than band names. There was a time when band names weren’t so wacky. When everyone named themselves after animals, insects, and common nouns (Yardbirds, Beatles, Turtles, Rolling Stones, Cars, and Doors), a name like Tonto’s Expanding Headband could really turn heads. If you were lucky enough to name your band after an interjection (Yes) or label your band in a way that sounds like it’s named after someone in the band, but really isn’t (Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull) then you could pretty much bank on getting famous.

But these days, band names are so darned weird that it’s impossible to stand out from the crowd. Think you’re clever naming your band Astronaut Love Triangle? Well, get in line behind Live Alien Broadcast and Alien Ant Farm.

Since our band is composed of two writers and a writer’s wife (unrelated to either of the writers…) we decided to start with writing-related names:

  • Stet
  • TK
  • The Batch 10 (which was an inside joke related to a writing project Jay and I were involved in)

Of course, there’s a certain been-there-done-that quality to writers naming their band with a writing-related theme (and the current lineup of the Rock Bottom Remainders seems to include almost every living writer that isn’t me or Jay) so we figured that since we are also geeks (well, Dawn isn’t), that we should at least consider some tech-y names as well. I was particularly proud of:

Then Dawn suggested:

  • Mulva

Which I thought was hilarious, but my buddy Paul said “What, now you’re in a Seinfeld tribute band?”

Paul offered dozens (and that’s being conservative) of options, but then again, he’s been compiling band names since college. In the end, we decided to go with The Batch 10. No, it’s not inspired. But there can only be so many Decemberists and Throwing Muses out there.

I’m Wiped

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

I’m wiped; I’m so tired. That’s what Kristin Hersh wails towards the end of Your Dirty Answer, a song from her incredible (but apparently undersold) Sunny Border Blue album. Unfortunately, based on hearing her tonight at her free performance at Mercer Street’s Easy Street Records in Seattle–along with any number of other concerts I’ve attended for the last few years–it’s clear that it is her voice that’s tired. Kristin’s poor voice has grown steadily raspier with each passing year, which probably speaks volume about how badly her vocal chords were punished during their time in Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave.  

Be that as it may, Kristin is still my hero. She’s a brilliant songwriter; a mesmerizing performer; an artist of epic proportions. Yep, I idolize her. Her show tonight was short by necessity–apparently, after the show, she starts driving for the east coast, where she’ll be catching a plane to start a European tour. She did some songs from the new album–Learn to Sing Like a Star–as well as some older material.

It’s a good album. But it was Your Dirty Answer that got to me, as it always does. I’m wiped, I’m so tired. Carry me, Carry me for a little while. The most intensely sad song I’ve ever heard, like industrially concetrated melancholy so heavy it hurts to think about it. 

So, excuse me. I’m going to sit back and spin up some Hunkpapa. After all, I just drove home from Queen Anne, and I really am wiped.