Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Double Shot Tuesday...

Eric Slick at Toad's Place in Connecticut April 19, 2006 where he did double duty as drummer for Doctor Dark and Project Object.

Good morning!

Oh, today is a good one. I mean, yesterday I had nothing, today I have so much news in the music and writing world I hope you have a few hours to read now.

Okay, first up. Last night Eric called me at 10:00 p.m., a half hour before he was scheduled to go on stage, to let me know that they were webcamming the entire show.

Do I you think I was a little bit excited?

Good thing I'm a nervous wreck because I went to the site to make sure it was working and it had that blue "Q" for Quicktime which I obviously have on this computer but for some reason it wasn't working because I probably ignored the last seven "Update" notices. So I literally had twenty minutes to download a new program and get it going which was enough time but of course in my world I was in panic land that I'd never be able to do this without Eric's help and I was going to miss the concert and eat my heart out all day today reading the reviews (Because yep, it was advertised on the Zappa forum board and a whole bunch of people all over the world were watching).

Anyway, I got it to work but they didn't go on until well after 10:30 p.m. and they do a four hour show. By midnight I couldn't keep my eyes open and it was such a dark, tiny screen I could hardly see it anyway but the sound was so great I turned it up and stretched out on the sofa so I could merely listen. Eric sounded amazing! Well, of course so did the rest of the band, but you know, I am his mother...

Unfortunately, I got too comfortable because the next thing I know it was 3:00 a.m. and I woke up all "Where the hell am I?" and twisted out of shape from sleeping on the couch and the computer screen was black.

Sob...I think I missed the whole second set.

But now of course hearing how amazing they sounded last night I not only want to go to the Baltimore AND New York shows this weekend, I want to do Harrisburg Friday night as well and I'm hearing a rumor as to where the May 14 show might be which is very interesting....

Okay, so now that I've wasted your time with my pre-coffee ramble, here's the first part of my news: Eric blogs from the tour again! Here are his entries:

Tuesday, April 18 Harper's Ferry

CHOWDAH! This gig was gonna be fun because Katie Jacoby traveled all the way there and Madi and Pat were guesting on songs. Talk about a School of Rock vibe show. That night we ate at an Asian Vegan place. I rocked the hell out of some Vermicelli, and then we went back and caught some of the opening band. It's funny how we get double billed with jam bands a lot, I mean, in a sense we are a jam band, but I don't think we have the mentality of one. The show that night was different, I think I was a bit overtired and sugared out. Too many energy drinks that day. Overall we had an accepting crowd and Katie, Madi, and Pat tore it up nicely for 'em. The second set was shortened that night due to curfew but perhaps that was for the better. I was just ready to get some sleep!

Wednesday, April 19 Toad's Place

She's a hot head, hot head...yep, that's Captain Beefheart, one of my all time favorites. New Haven, CT - college town central, the home of Toad's Place. New Haven was double duty night because I was playing with Doctor Dark, the only Captain Beefheart tribute I've ever seen or been a part of. I didn't get a chance to rehearse with them and we were doing almost all new material, like 'Ella Guru', 'When Big Joan Sets Up'...a lot of Trout Mask super complex material. I think we did a particularly good job in general, and we sounded much thicker this time around due to a sax player, new bass (not the old hollow-bodied Vox), and an extra guitar player pulling off all those insane Zoot Horn Rollo parts. I love all those guys, so thanks Doctor Dark for letting me play with you! Gregg Bendian showed up again and I finally got to sit down and talk with him about music. It's always different talking to drummers, at home my drumming buddy is Branden King so I was itching to talk about polyrhythms with somebody! Gregg is a sick player and a genuinely sweet person so it was easy to get carried away in conversation about things like Bruford-less Yes, Return to Forever, and the wizardry of Jack DeJohnette. It was a busy night for me so I was relieved by Gregg filling in on some songs. A good show again, the funniest part probably was the fact that Seahag made a point to go out and buy us fake moustaches. The second set was just hilarious almost to the point where I was laughing so hard I couldn't play. During 'Pick Me I'm Clean' I sang, 'I'm learning English, I can say 'moustache''. Ike couldn't sing the rest, so I'm glad I made him laugh. I had an old school Toto moustache (I don't really know whether it was Toad-O or not, I'll check it out), Andre and Seahag had a weasel mustache, Dave's fell off, and Svalgard had...um..uh...a Hitler looking moustache? Early curfew that night because there was a booming dance party with typical American idiots dancing along to revamped versions of songs from the 70's and 80's...yep...they played an 'I love Rock and Roll' remix and a newly recorded 'Tainted Love'...I think David Byrne predicted this in the liner notes to 'Sand in the Vaseline' (1991)..He said 'In the year 2000, the Talking Heads will become popular again due to slick electronic drum beats over our old material'. Talk about thinking ahead! Off to a day off, of driving and such.

Friday, April 21 Beachland Ballroom

Don't stop the rock! After an inspiring trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (we got in free because we're a touring ensemble) we came nice and early to the Beachland Ballroom. The Beachland Ballroom freaks me out because it looks like my old high school auditorium. The vibe was just amazing! We had an opening band of Oberlin youngsters who were not properly billed with us, but they were great kids anyway. They played some dance-rocky songs and got kinda drunk. Nice! Our show that night was a lot of fun. The previous day we went to a Party Store and bought hats. Seahag bought a riot control police helmet, Dave bought a Vietnamese lampshade hat, and I was corny and bought a cowboy hat that was way too small for my giganto-lollipop head. Also, there was a underground thrift store tunnel that connected to our basement backstage area...Weird. I bought a muscle shirt that says 'Sex Machine', because the Duran Duran Rio Tour Baseball Shirt was too small. The chef made us some great wraps, and then we went up and played our balls off! I think the energy was right that night, we were all connected, and the crowd was out of control. Nice and rowdy, just the way I like it! The after show included digging into my box of Honey Bunches of Oats and pigging out like I needed to. I must reiterate how these shows are seriously like going to the gym.

To a Motel 6 where we had a scenic view of a track field.

Saturday, April 22 Martyr's

Chicago, where didn't get to have any Deep Dish Pizza. It's all good, there's no need for pizza when I'm worrying about broken drum heads, faulty cymbal stands, and bass drums that won't stand still! I call Chicago the night of technical drum difficulties. Argh! I wanted to impress the Chicago audience so bad. We went to a Guitar Center beforehand where I got caught up in the wide world of synthesizers. The guy working at the drum counter was also willing to give me a Zildjian Constantinople cymbal for $350...oh man, I was so close to splurging, you can't get those cymbals for under $500 and they sound like GOLD. My playing was ok that night, I didn't warm up enough and I felt kinda crappy. Again, a couple guys insisted that I played alright and the guy filming it said it was the best concert he had shot. Thanks man! After the show, there was a guy who looked like Jeff Lynne hanging around and got himself into some trouble. Ah, I'll still take his proclamation into consideration (he claimed that he could fly).

Yeah, I bet!

Motel 6...no way!
They all start to look the same, except they designed a new bed sheet for 2006 entitled 'The Adventure'. Why do I know this? Because I am a nerd.

Sunday, April 23 Cicero's

Yeah baby! The hometown of Willis, St. Louis! Cicero's is a neat little place that reminds me of The Fire with a bigger stage and a better sound system. I felt like my playing that night was more cohesive and Svalgard was quite on the ball. I mean, everyone's playing that night excited me, so I was sweating it out by the end. We had an opening band that night called Fatback. They were very Ween-esque. They're definitely going to get alot of gigs, all jammy kind of bands do. Maybe that's where I need to focus my energy if I want to be a successful musician? I don't know, I couldn't possibly be a member of STS9, I don't think I have the personality. Or maybe I think that Zappa and Sun Ra were the ultimate jam bands and nothing can compare. Oh well. The Willis family support system was great, and Ike brought the goods. Positive post show energy was hindered a bit by the stage lights going on and off for whatever reason. Packing up is supposed to be quick and easy after a sweaty show like Ciccero's!

Moving on to 8 Mile, yo yo yo, Eminem, yo.


So that'e Eric's almost up to date blog and yeah, as a writer, I'm dying here reading my son's "work"...I'd suggest it to him as a "fall-back" career but um, yeah, nice back-up plan, Rob. What you really mean is that he can stand on the corner with you, selling pencils.

And thank you Nancy, significant other to Bill Saunders, a/k/a Doctor Dark and whose amazing artwork I've posted here previously. Nancy just sent me the above photo of Eric and this wonderful photo of him on drums with said Doctor Dark at Toad's Place last week:

Nancy also told me that they popped in on Eric at the Asheville,, NC show. I hope she doesn't get annoyed with me for this, but I want to post an excerpt from her email because it really means a lot to me:

I caught the Denny Walley quote you included on your blog and thought you might be interested in this little bit of commentary, too: Bill gave Denny a copy of the CD recorded at the April 19th Toad's show (he also has copies of a couple of the earlier Doctor Dark CDs) and his reaction was something like "I can't wait to hear you with HIM playing" -- of course gesturing in Eric's direction. Face it, the kid's a powerhouse and a real force to be reckoned with in the music world! (as if you didn't know).

Oh, I know, I know, and when I tell you I had the chills last night watching him on the computer screen, that's putting it mildly.

Anyway, I don't see any reviews in yet of last night's show but as usual, I will pop in and edit if I find any during the course of the day.

Wait: Here's one:

ETA at 10:50 a.m.
Re: The Day is Finally Here!!!
Dam whatta awesome show!!! My first P/O show will not be the last, cant wait to see yall again. Everyone was on last night, Dre' ripped up the 6stringer, Dave..maniac on tha bass, Eric Slick you are amazing..18...amazing, and Svalgard thanks for taking time to chat after the show; you rocked as well, and last but not least, Ike thanks for taking us on a trip down memory road and tha stop at Joe's.
Thanks for tha show and we'll see ya next time round!!

Why thank you, Crankin' Frank!

Here's another I just found:
ETA at 4:25 p.m.
Re: The Day is Finally Here!!!
Reply #2 on: Today at 4:11pm
Fantastic night. The sound was a bit sketchy at first, but got better as the night went on. During the break Eric Svalgard showed me his new Theramin. A pretty cool little gadget. I closed my eyes during Big Swifty and thought I was listening to Preston. Don't let anybody give you shit Eric. Eric Slick is a hot, tight drummer. The kid has plenty of 'pop'. Dave Johnsen played some awesome bass. Arthur Barrow came to mind a few times last night. Andre' was as cool as ever. He was wailing on that Paul all night. And what can I say about Ike? Just THE BEST. Oh man, what a show!

Top 3 highlights:
3. Talking to the guys before and after the show.
2. This is a tie. Screaming out, "I'm the slime oozing out from your tv set" on cue from Ike and then Ike high-fiving me. And my wife and I yelling out "play 'For The Young Sophisticated' and singing along with Ike and Dre' for a few lines of the tune. They didn't play the song, we just traded lines from the first verse. Cool.

And the #1 highlight - again a tie. Before they played Black Napkins, Dre' dedicated it to my wife and I. He called us "hardcore" fans. That was an understatement. Way Cool. And Ike giving me a hug after the show. You're getting that jacket, my friend!

If PO is coming to your town or if you're close enough to go to a show, please go. These guys need your support. Buy the T-shirts. Buy the CDs.

It's a 3+ hour ride for me and I have to be on a plane noon Thursday, but who cares....see you in Charlotte!

And thanks to you as well, editdawg.

And a few other music mentions before I spill some writing news:

Andrew Greenaway, a/k/a The Idiot Bastard interviews Rock School Uberlord Paul Green right here and it's a really great read...plus ha ha, he mentions Eric Slick.

And, as if that's not enough, he also mentions Eric (and me, the "sassy mum") right here under "Project Object" and wow, thanks for the link to my blog, Andrew! I've been having a blast e-mailing with him -- it's always amazing to find a kindred music spirit.

Hey, you know what? I really, really like "Sassy Mum". I think that should be my new nickname, okay? Actually, hmmm...that's a great pen name for erotica. Sick as hell, so naturally I like it.

Which is a nice seque into my writing news. One of my favorite people/writers at Zoetrope has landed an agent for two books -- one a short story collection and one a novel -- and I've been drinking virtual champagne on her behalf for the past 24 hours. Such great things are happening for all of my friends and it's just the beginning...

But this one has me particularly chuffed (heh...I'm just such a Brit wannabe) because this writer is so fucking original and I relate to her stories in such a personal way...oh man...and she's part of a core group of around ten writers with whom I "hang" who one by one are getting noticed and snagging book deals so hooray for all of my talented pals!!!!!

And speaking of my talented pals, Susan Henderson is interviewed by fellow author David Niall Wilson right here. Good job! It really gives you some interesting insight into Sue's brilliant and sensitive mind.

Meanwhile, Susan posts a blog question each week and she publishes the answers on Friday. Sue's very generous and will link your website/blog if you do reply, and I have to say, this week's question interested me more than a little bit because Sue asks "Who is your favorite songwriter" (and the "why" is implied...I sure as hell told her why in my response, anyway). So because I like this question so very much, I am posting the direct link to Susan's Blog Mail for your response.

Hey, Sue, who do you think Neil Gaiman's favorite songwriter is? The Tori Amos answer may be too obvious, I dunno. By the way, here's a present for you:

Oh god...

One final note, if you are in the North Carolina area tonight, Eric and the boys will be at The Cat's Cradle, which is about 25 miles from Raleigh. It should be another incredible show.

The Sassy Mum