I just woke up and am sitting here with tears (of happiness) running down my face because of this newly posted review of Side Four Live:
"...With headphones adjusted comfortably on my ears, I pushed play, and heard the best live album of the year... maybe the best album of the year... I haven't heard all of them yet can't say for sure.
Writing on the Wall erupts like a volcano on a primordial landscape. The thundering sound makes me feel like some kind of Primusaurous Erectus is coming to scoop me up and devour me. Fast as punk and tight as a fine Swiss watch. Suddenly, another Dinosaur rears its head for an old familiar Krimson cover. The bass is masterfully executed, the drums are precise and deliberate. Adrian's voice is powerful as he delivers every note with convincing passion. Pretty freakin' good for an old guy. Oh, and the guitar... Oh, yea... and did I mention the bass? What really stands out on this track is the bare foot pretty's phenomenal frettery. Wow! Queen Crimson.
I had always hoped of one day seeing and or hearing Les Claypool play Ampersand live with Belew... this is probably better. &... I've never been satisfied with the way the song ends. Next, Adrian introduces his masterful young musicians who have just made such an impression on the audience (and listeners at home like me). Young Lions sounds as though the trio has played together for a decade. Adrian's guitar solo roars and reminds everyone what they're there for. He manages his custom-made Parker Fly guitar as though it is an extension of himself. No wonder Beat Box Guitar was nominated for a Grammy a couple of years ago. Infused with a touch Krimsonesence, it really grooves, and is a lot of fun to listen to too. It sounds like the band is having a great time... like three kids in a sandbox. One of the most beautiful songs in the sides series is Matchless Man. The lyrics and backwards guitar give this piece a bit of a Lennon flavour.
Next the band plays A Little Madness. I wonder how mad folks feel about the title. I don't think they'd like it, but I do... really... what, do you think I'm Krazi? In a couple of months, I'm going to Drive all the way to San Fancisco to see this dynamique trio because they're not coming to the vegetarian and barefoot-friendly Santa Cruz. The Slicks sit this one out as Adrian commandeers the wheel and takes everyone a Belooperistic adventure. Nice!
One of my favorite Belew songs is Of Bow and Drum, from the Op Zop Too Wah album. I couldn't ask for a better live presentation. Great job. Last November, I was impressed when these three played Big Electric Cat at the Catalyst here in Santa Cruz. Listening to this track reminded me of the excitement in the air that night. From frogs croaking in the jungle to the slick presentation on this disc, there are now lots of versions of Thela Hun Gingeet for the Krimsonnoisseur to enjoy.
Not Kids Anymore
Now that I've heard Side Four, I feel like it isn't fair to refer to Eric and Julie Slick as kids any longer. They've proven themselves. Any band would be thrilled to have either one of these exceptional performers in their ensemble... Adrian Belew is fortunate to have both of them. He'll have to work hard to keep up with these two.
I have to wonder what is next for the Twang Bar King now that the Sides are complete...
and what of the siblings Slick?"
I can answer that for you, sir. They will be touring tirelessly with Adrian in 2008, there will be a new studio CD, and the sky is the limit. Eric will continue to also tour with Project Object and Crescent Moon in his "down time" as well as a whole bunch of other projects he has brewing -- more on that in a future post. Julie graduates Drexel University with a degree in Music Industry; has a state of the art recording studio she built from the ground up, and will continue to record and produce local bands. Her latest accomplishment is the brilliant CD by Cheers Elephant, who, ironically are getting air play on our local NPR radio station, XPN while inexplicably the Power Trio are not. Though I have to tell you, I may chain myself to their studio in a raging protest soon because this station is supposed to be "indie" and promote local bands but so far Gary and I have been feeling like we've been banging our heads against the wall with them and the last thing we want is for the program director to think we are crazed stage parents nagging "ooh ooh, our kids made a CD, please play it on your station". I am hoping with upcoming articles about Julie and Eric in Philly Style Magazine and Bass Player Magazine, maybe they will come to their senses.
Or maybe we can entice them with Gary's Christmas cookies -- to all of you lucky recipients who have received them, I am sure you will agree that those things are the best form of "bribery" in the entire universe.
Speaking of Eric, raves continue to come in from his performance with Crescent Moon on Friday night mentioned in my last blog post, and here is a great photo of Eric Slick and Claude Coleman, Jr. of Ween double drumming:
This photo was taken by my pal Joe Maida, and he also wrote a cool review so click on that link which includes another You Tube which ROCKS! Thanks, Joe.
Gary and I have a bunch of photos from that night as well and it was my full intention to post them here this morning but then I saw that Side Four Live review and got so joyously distracted that I will have to upload them later and make it a separate post, okay?
Finally, I am pleased to announce the debut CD release of the Black Lodge Ensemble featuring Eric Slick, Dan Nitz, Dylan McConnell, Mike Long, Gina Gleason, Meg Callen, Foster Longo, Cheshire Augusta, and many more. Here is the link so that you can be one of the first to own a copy.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen: Eric Slick, Claude Coleman, Jr., and Dave Dreiwitz (with special guests Chris Harford, Mickey Melchiondo, and Reverend B-ill)
What can I say about last night that you can't see for yourselves in this (albeit blurry) You Tube -- the double drumming sensation of Eric Slick and Claude Coleman, Jr. of Ween along with Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz. In the audience were Chris Harford, Sound of Urchin's Reverend B-ill and Mickey Melchiondo, a/k/a Dean Ween and you just knew they were going to pick up guitars. Or in this case basses. Everyone traded off instruments, Dave played keyboards, trumpets, Chris and Mickey played bass, then guitar, Chris even drummed at one point and as if my heart wasn't already melted by the end of the evening, Mickey sang Clapton's Wonderful Tonight accompanied by all of the above musicians to end the show.
Oh God, the music lasted until 2:00 a.m. and we didn't make it home until 3:00 a.m. and I'm so exhausted and deaf it's insane but I have to say it's one of the most memorable evenings I've ever had at John and Peters and I've been going to that club for more years than I care to admit.
From the Ween Forum Board:
"Claude and Eric. well, what can you say? I spent the week with some of the premier drummers in the country and they were certainly no better than this duo. as the night went on they got more and more in synch and by the time they whipped out Santana for the next to last tune, they were in lock step. not to mention two of the nicest guys you ever want to meet.
Dave was as fluid as he always is and as in the pocket. the dual bass Harford/DD rocked. mickey and bill played their asses off and an the final song with mick doing You Look Wonderful Tonight in semi-falsetto put the icing on the cake."
"...The show at J&Ps was awesome...
...Two drum sets on the tiny J&P stage. Claude on one side, Eric Slick on the other. They would intermittently SWITCH drum sets mid-song, yet would continue to play as they both walked from one set of drums to the other. FUCKING SICK.
Then of course Dave doing the best of Crescent Moon and Instant Death catalog with those two on drums the entire time...Dave also played this mini-trumpet, and some sorta odd moog keyboard or something from time to time while simultaneously playing bass. FUCKING SICK.
Then Rev. B-ILL joined on guitar. Then Mickey joined on bass. Then Chris Harford joined on a second bass. At several points in the show it was a double-bass, double-drums, double-guitar, synth, and cowbell combo ensemble up there. FUCKING SICK."
Yep, that's basically what I said, too.
Gah! I am way too tired to blog - like I said, I only had a couple hours sleep and am feeling comatose. Okay, there's only one thing to do...I'm gonna watch that You Tube again and CRANK IT UP LOUD!
Friday, December 28, 2007
Dave Dreiwitz and Eric Slick, also known as Crescent Moon
So tonight is the Crescent Moon gig at John and Peters in New Hope, and I've been informed that there will be a "special surprise guest". And that's all I'm saying, except for one other thing: The second half of the set will blow you away. And guess who is opening for Crescent Moon? The fabulous Stinking Lizaveta! Is this a must see show? You betcha.
Speaking of Dave Dreiwitz, Drew Vanderburg sent me a trailer for a new documentary which looks AMAZING. So without further ado, here you go!
In other news, if you want a fun read...okay, if you want to spend most of today reading...pop over to Jon Swift's blog. Jon asked a select group of bloggers, including yours truly, to choose their best posts of the year, which he then linked. What did I pick as my very favorite blog entry for Robin Slick: In Her Own Write, 2007? You will have to visit Jon's blog to find out.
Jon (well, Jon is not his real name and as I've said before, I am almost certain I know his true identity because we share a mutual friend) has made me feel guilty because I'm a slacker this week...usually I, too, do a yearly wrap up but I've got so much on my plate right now it's crazy. I've been asked to rewrite the opening of my new book which is way cool but for a few days I wasn't sure I had the voice right. Then, in one of those moments writers just love, all of a sudden it came to me and everything clicked into place. So I'm just letting it sit for a few more days before sending it off with fingers crossed.
I also finished Bitten to the Core, which is the third book in the Three Days in New York City series, so if you are interested in seeing what kind of convoluted mess Elizabeth has gotten herself into now, stay tuned. But if you can't wait and would like to read an out-take from the book, I have good news...okay, great news. The anthology which I edited for Phaze Publishing will be available both in print and digitally on December 31, 2007. It's called 39 and Holding Him and contains stories by Victoria Blisse, Fenner Jeckyll, Jalena Burke, N.L. Belardes, N, Missy Lyons, Shanna Germain, Rebecca Adamsi, Belinda Franklin, and like I said, me...and my story is called "An Affair with a Poet Much Younger than Myself" which is pretty much the plot of Bitten to the Core. Or not. You will have to read the story and then the book to find out.
I really dig the cover of 39 and Holding Him which okay, I must admit, I selected myself -- and it's the fabulous photography of Nick Belardes, who also has an absolutely fantastic piece in the anthology as well.
By the way, last call for submissions for 39 and Still Holding Him, which, d'oh, is the second volume of the anthology. My publisher is going to have my head if I do not send her my selections this weekend, and I'm still undecided about a couple of stories so, um, if I were to receive something stellar this weekend, well, that would be awesome and would be of great help. If you have any questions about submission guidelines, email me or leave a comment.
Oh God, do I suck as a saleswoman or what? Ha! Buy the damn books, okay? I will give you candy...
Anyway, that's about it for today...I have emails to answer, and yeah yeah, I know, I haven't responded to the fantastic comments in my blog for the last few days which is very unlike me so I will try and rectify that today as well but in case I don't get to it, just know that I love and appreciate every one of them and all of you are just so cool it's ridiculous.
Merry Goo Year!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
So there is a blurry, first pic of our tree taken on Christmas morning pre-coffee after Gary and I were woken up at 7:00 a.m. by our twenty-one and twenty year old who burst into our bedroom excitedly and then the dog, who was just as comatose as we were, suddenly became a puppy again and alternated between barking, licking my face, and nudging my entire body with his nose to propel me out of bed.
By the way, he then raced downstairs, went right to what he knew to be his presents (peanut butter bones baked by Metropolitan Bakery) and ripped off the wrapping paper and started eating before we were even out the bedroom door.
The same photo of Julie and Eric Slick we have taken every Christmas since 1989 or so and give or take several inches (taller), they are all practically identical. Ha ha - oh to be our kids at Christmas.
Gary looks like he needs his coffee given to him intravenously as Eric excitedly wraps one of like a thousand DVDs/CDs he had on his list for Santa. I think his favorite gift, though, besides a suit from Zara which he knew about since he had to try it on, was this awesome practice pad from Beatnik. Eric also got a wallet by local artist Thom Lessner, a melodica, a t-shirt from Tim and Eric, and all kinds of assorted cool stuff.
There's Gary unwrapping what had to be his favorite gift - a Foxx Tone Machine...and what do you know, it says right on the package "as used by Jimi Hendrix and Adrian Belew".
Speaking of Adrian, the best surprise of 2007 had to be the one pulled off by Eric Slick, who called Adrian on the phone and told him that Gary and I were in love with his artwork and was there any way he could arrange for an Adrian Belew original so that Eric could give us one as a Christmas gift.
Tell me that Gary and I are not the two luckiest people alive:
Isn't that amazing? I was so excited I stopped unwrapping presents and spent an hour re-arranging artwork until I found the perfect spot, directly over our sofa.
First I had it to the left of our John Lennon lithograph but then I decided it looked better right in the center of the wall above the sofa in between John Lennon and a painting done by Julie and we were all really struck by the similarities in drawing/painting styles of Lennon, Belew and Slick:
There are no photos of Julie unwrapping this year because (1) she was the photographer and (2) the excitement level at our house really was on overdrive. There are a couple photos of me but it is apparent that I ate too many Christmas cookies this year and I refuse to post any of them. Oh, just kidding, but there are so many other photos I want to post that if I were to post them all, it would take an hour for this page to load.
In the gift department, I was given what I wanted most - a brand new upstairs bathroom. Gary, Julie and Eric really came through - I got everything from a cool new sink, toilet, etc. to the exact white paint I wanted for the walls, new towel rings, new towels, medicine cabinet, Hollywood make-up mirror style lighting...I cannot wait for the installation which will take place during the next two weeks. Good grief, I am finally a grown up. I didn't ask for one frivolous item - I wanted a new bathroom just like a real adult and even though I'm sure it wasn't fun for my family to shop for that as much as my usual requests of artsy type things (cool jewelry, vases, sculpture, etc.) I was totally thrilled.
In addition to his guitar effects pedal, Santa gave Gary a zoom lens for his camera, a ton of CDs and DVDs, and a t-shirt with the world's most hilarious story behind it. Okay, it's not that funny if you are not a member of this family but to us, it was an outrageous coincidence. Eric and I were out shopping downtown the other day, and we were approached by some hippie looking dude with a black t-shirt which says "Stop Bitching, Start the Revolution". He said that they weren't for "sale" but we could give a donation and get a shirt, and that the donations were usually $15.00.
"Daddy would love that shirt," I said to Eric.
Eric looked skeptical but didn't say much. I bought the shirt (but not before mortifying Eric and telling said hippie dude that Eric was a drummer for the Adrian Belew Power Trio and did he know who that was, etc.) and as we walked away, I asked Eric why he wasn't as excited as I was over the t-shirt.
"Mom, I am seriously worried you just bought dad a shirt from a bunch of Scientologists or Jews for Jesus...there was something weirdly cult like about them."
"Oh no. I didn't just give money to a bunch of freaks who worship Tom Cruise, did I?"
"Err, they gave you some reading literature with the shirt. Did you look at it?"
"No. Oh God, now I'm afraid. But Daddy will still love the shirt, won't he?"
"If you say so."
When we got home, I looked at the handout they gave me with the t-shirt which contained a web address. Grimacing and scared to look, I went to their site and broke out laughing. Oh, they are a cult alright...a cult of artists who live together and worship beat writers. This was even more hilarious in light of the fact that Adrian recently told Gary he loves his blog and comments on his (Adrian's) blog because Gary's writing...the way he writes in phrases and half sentences and uses a lot of dots, dashes, and streams of consciousness...remind Ade of Jack Kerouac. So the fact that there's a cult out there who worships the Beats and I just happened to buy Gary one of their t-shirts was just too damn funny.
Julie scored big this Christmas - tons of pots, pans, serving dishes, bowls, clothes, gift certificates to both Lucky Brand Jeans and Ritz Theaters (they only show indie films), a messenger bag (vegetarian) from Poketo, a way cool artist collective, a necklace from Pashupatina, earrings, cookbooks, magazine subscriptions (Bon Appetit, Vegetarian Times, Cooking Light), etc. etc.
One of my favorite gag gifts was that I had a custom made Lance Armstrong style rubber bracelet made for Eric (and Julie) which says "Vegetarian". This was because..and forgive me if I already told this story in my blog; I know I've told it to every human in person already....but when Eric was about to have his appendix removed and under the anesthesia, they put new hospital bracelets on him in pre-op. One was a new in-patient name bracelet, the other was a bright orange one that said ALLERGIES on it in big black letters because Eric is allergic to shellfish and they use iodine in the O.R. As Eric was being wheeled in to surgery and already high on whatever they gave him to knock him out, he shouted "Wait! Wait! I need another bracelet!"
"Why, Eric?" the nurse asked kindly.
"I NEED ONE THAT SAYS VEGETARIAN!" he shouted just before conking out.
I laughed so hard my side hurt. I guess he was afraid they were going to serve him steak while removing his appendix. So when I stumbled upon a site which sold custom made bracelets and learned I could have whatever I wanted printed on them and there was no minimum on how many I could order, I jumped on it knowing he would love the joke/sentiment behind it. He did, and yeah, I did get Julie one as well because it was so damn funny.
After we finally finished unwrapping our gifts and I was at last pleased with where I placed my original Adrian Belew masterpiece, we realized we were starving and Princess Julie said "Let's go over to (boyfriend) Matt's house. No one is there and I will make you a fantastic brunch using my new serving platters and dishes. I'll go over now and will call you when it's done."
Hey, that sounded good to us! Even Monty dog was invited, but since he gets hyper when he is in a "new" place other than home, Eric and I took him for a long walk first and played ball with him in the schoolyard. For a dog going on ten years old, he played like a puppy. The weather was sunny and around 45 degrees - just perfect, and we had a hard time getting him to give up the ball.
By the time we got back home, Julie rang us up and said "Breakfast is ready!" so we walked the six blocks to Matt's and oh man, she wasn't kidding breakfast was ready.
First to come out - French toast casserole with caramelized apples and pecans and yep, aren't her new dishes beautiful?
Next, hash browns formed into potato cakes made with shallots which I could live on...seriously...if I were stranded on a desert island, this would be what I would pick -- I don't need any other food, they are that good:
She topped all that off with scrambled eggs which she makes with hot sauce and oregano - you cannot believe how amazing they are:
After stuffing ourselves like pigs, we went back home and Eric didn't even have his coat off before he sat down with his drumsticks and played with his Beatnik. I sat in the living room and just kept staring at my Adrian Belew painting; Gary took out his new pedal and plugged in his guitar...then Julie, who stayed behind at Matt's to clean up, came back over and started on dinner. Actually, it was a beautiful, joint effort on Gary and Julie's behalf - they made two huge unbelievable vegetarian lasagnas with homemade tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, mushrooms, and zucchini which were sick, sick, sick and we had that with toasted baguettes and roasted garlic oil...Julie, Eric and I split a bottle of champagne; we then watched The Simpson's Movie (one of Gary's gifts)...and that's all I remember; I fell asleep early for a change but I know the rest of the family stayed up well past midnight -- Julie and Eric actually autographed more copies of Side Four Live to send back to Nashville...they are almost sold out! Hey, if you haven't ordered your signed copy yet off of Adrian's website be forewarned...there will only be a few more sold as they are now limited edition; autographed copies are being cut off at 500 and from here on in you will only be able to get a signed CD if you attend one of the shows on the upcoming 2008 tour.
Before I end this post, I want to give special thanks to the various disc jockeys across the country who have been tirelessly supporting Adrian, Julie and Eric by playing Side Four Live on their radio broadcasts. So my very best wishes for a happy healthy New Year goes out to Jeff Menke over at WNKU - NPR; Jonny Mambo over at WCOM, and Vince and Daisy over at The Dividing Line.
So that's it for now -- I have all kinds of writing news going on; a lot more music news...but reality is a bitch, and Gary, who just took the dog out for an early morning walk, came back in with the announcement that someone went through our holiday trash outside during the night and there's a huge mess which freaks me the hell out because not only is it a terrible and scary invasion of privacy, I'm not especially in the mood to go out and clean up garbage at the moment but oh well, that's life in the big city but someone please tell me WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?
Monday, December 24, 2007
So Ho Ho Ho to all of you - just popping by to give a few (oh God forgive me for using this term) shout outs:
First, tonight there will be a very special radio broadcast from 9:00 p.m. until midnight eastern -- An Adrian Belew Christmas featuring Julie and Eric Slick -- brought to you courtesy of Famous Jonny Mambo and he's going to play Side Four Live in its entirety along with other gems from Adrian's career and lots of commentary -- he'll also be taking requests. Here is the link to the live stream.
Second, I was so overwhelmed with last minute Christmas shopping yesterday (why, why, why does this still happen to me every single year?) I totally blew wishing Adrian a happy birthday, and also, blew the chance to celebrate Festivus. So, we are going to do this all belatedly.
Ready? Happy Birthday, Adrian! And Happy Hollandaise as well! Were you aware that your birthday falls on the sacred holiday of Festivus?
And now for said Festivus! If you are so inclined, in accordance with the holiday, you can celebrate in my comments section by doing the following:
(a) Airing your grievances;
(b) Naming your feats of strength;
(c) Any Festivus miracles you have had...
You can interpret these Festivus rituals any way you like.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monty posing for the camera with one of his past Christmas presents. Okay, one of the kids' past Christmas presents from many years ago with which he likes to greet us at the door when we come home and it makes us feel great no matter how bad our day might have been.
So I haven't felt much like blogging because I get kind of stressed around Christmas and can't focus on much else. I mean, not stressed per se, but I'm always worried about picking out the perfect gifts, baking enough cookies (and oh God, Gary is going to kill me since he's not only been the Master Pastry Chef this year but also doing the UPS end of it...argh, I just remembered two people to whom I forgot to send cookies so guess what I will be doing later on...)
That, and I am just completely worn out. I realize I owe people a bunch of emails and even comments on this blog and I will try and get to all of you within the next day or two, I promise.
Monday, Julie and I went to New York and we really do have magical fun times together. We decided on a day trip and not to hotel it this year because we realized that instead of spending $500.00 for an overnight stay where they kick you out by 11:00 a.m., we could use the money for something much cooler. So we did.
We had lunch at a decent restaurant that I'm not going to name because I really cannot in honesty say "Oh, you must visit so and so when you are in New York" and I doubt we'll ever go there again but it was pleasant and pretty and we shared a cold vegetarian appetizer and a hot roasted vegetable platter. I mean, it was vegetables so how bad can you fuck that up and I did it to appease Julie who tells me you can never order seafood in a restaurant on Monday because it's not fresh so I decided to join her team for the day and not eat any meat. Anyway, I've seen restaurants be pretty creative with hummus and tahini but this place was pretty straightforward so no, I'm not going to recommend it.
Now where we had dinner was so great I can't tell you because we want it to be our secret place. It was so beautiful and cool - candle lit and velvet drapes and chairs with faux suede walls and great artwork -- we had three huge glasses of wine and the best baked eggplant rollatini ever (yep, I stayed vegetarian all day) and the total bill was $32.00. Not to mention it included an outrageous sliced warm baguette and really quality olive oil.
We went to a bunch of music stores which was a blast, especially when Julie is recognized. That happened at Sam Ash and the sales guy almost had a heart attack because he's a big Adrian Belew freak. He asked me to take a cell phone pic of Julie with him and he was so nervous he couldn't even show me how to work his phone and that was pretty damn funny. That, and other than Julie, his most famous customer was Michael J. Fox, who was just in there the other day and I can't give details because it was for a special Christmas gift. And yeah, yeah, the salesman showed me his photo with Michael and I oohed and aahed even if I was being the world's biggest phony. Speaking of guitars -- oh man, I saw the most gorgeous guitar ever at Chelsea Guitars on 23rd Street. It was a custom Rickenbacker, the entire body rainbows of mother of pearl inlays, with John Lennon's portrait. I didn't have the guts to ask the price in person but I did send them an email which they still haven't answered so I'm guessing it's either not for sale or in excess of $100,000.00. We have a pretty impressive vintage guitar collection in this house but I've never seen anything like that Rick in my life. Hey, if I do sell my books to Hollywood there will be no fancy car or house in my future -- just that guitar. You see? I have my priorities straight.
On the bus ride home (yeah, Julie made me take the bus instead of the train. Please kill me), we had a hilarious experience. The bus driver made an announcement to please not use cell phones but if you must, do it quietly and discreetly. Julie and I did not get to sit next to each other as it was a full bus but she did sit directly behind me. We were pretty much at the back of said bus but behind Julie was a fellow who must have not liked the no cell phone rule and decided it was not meant for him. Not only that, his phone had one of those awful ring tones - loud and like you are at a circus or carnival in some bumfuck town. Sometimes he spoke loudly in Spanish, sometimes loudly in English, but it went on and on during the entire two plus hour ride home. I managed to sleep my way through most of it, but when we were almost back in Philly and his phone rang for like the twentieth time, I lost it and slapped myself on the forehead and said out loud "Oh my god!". I hear this laugh behind me and I turn around and Julie says "Mom, you can't believe this. The whole time he was on the phone, this whole trip, I did nothing. But when his phone rang that last time, I did the same thing you did and I saw you do it simultaneously...we both slapped our heads in the same place at exactly the same time."
We really do have a Like Mother, Like Daughter thing going on...
I see Eric has updated his blog which makes me very happy because I love the way he writes. And while I'm on the subject of Eric, if you are in the Bucks County area, in case I take a break from blogging over the holidays altogether (hey, it could happen!), please do not forget he's got a gig at John and Peters on December 28 with Dave Dreiwitz which is going to be awesome and you just never know who is liable to show up at these shows...I know who is on my Christmas wish list but um, I'd better not say it. (Mickey Mickey Mickey)(whoops...sorry...I said it after all but that is because in addition to being an awesome guitarist, he is also the world's best club dj and I still cannot believe he played Savoy Brown last time we were at a John and Peter's show and also does play with Dave and Eric from time to time)
Also, and this is really important, I mentioned in my last post that on Christmas Eve there would be a two hour tribute to the Adrian Belew Power Trio. Well, it's actually a three hour tribute; dj Jonny Mambo will be playing Side Four in its entirety, and it runs from 9:00 p.m. until midnight. Can you think of a better soundtrack for gift wrapping?
Here's the link for the live stream Monday night.
Speaking of music, and when don't I, head over to Susan Henderson's Lit Park for a veddy interesting interview with Paul Green. What made me laugh out loud were the audio clips. Susan questions Paul about the first All-Star tour and all you can hear is Paul asking "Did Robin tell you anything? What did Robin tell you?"
Hey, if I told her anything, it was that in retrospect I would not have missed that experience for anything in the world. I just wish I could have been twenty years younger!
Susan also has the trailer for Rock School in her Monday post and it cracks me up to see a 15 year old Eric and 16 year old Julie sitting side by side, trashing the band 311. Eric on drums with short hair and glasses opens and closes the clip, and there are glimpses of Julie on stage in Germany toward the end. They've changed so much in the five/four and a half years or so when the movie was filmed and I hadn't seen it in a while so it really made me smile.
WXPN, the NPR station out of Philadelphia, is really the only radio station in town who plays indie artists and goes outside the box, so to speak, so we've really been trying to get them to play Side Four Live. We passed a copy on to dj Jim McGuinn who has been very receptive but it's the program director, Dan Reed, who will ultimately make the decision and Jim gave the CD to him so we have our fingers crossed. I mean, Julie and Eric are native Philadelphians...there's human interest here in addition to great freaking music. Anyway, the other day Gary heard Jim on the radio saying that he was going to play the top five female bassists at 5:00 p.m. Naturally Gary called him and gave him a gentle reminder about Julie, and Jim was kind enough to talk about her on the air as being from Philly and someone to watch - someone we'll all be hearing about in the future in a big way, etc.
So now I see his comment made it on the XPN Forum Board and some other people left remarks about the Adrian Belew Power Trio being great and that they plan to see them on March 12, 2008 at the World Cafe Live and yeah this is a link for tickets, too. Since we are trying to get XPN to play the CD, if any of you would please add a comment to that effect on the forum board, it would be greatly appreciated.
Also, there are some new You Tubes up of the trio down in Florida this summer - they are montages and pretty well done:
So that's pretty much it for today. I have edits to do on my new book; I'm in the process of redesigning my website completely - and Scott Abernethy, who does the webwork for Adrian, Eric, and Julie, has been kind enough to offer his services to me so I'm currently trying to figure out what I want. And on top of that, I'm still trying to select which pieces I'm accepting for the Phaze Anthology 39 and Holding Him Part II -- there is still space available and if any of my writer friends reading this are interested, write to me for submission guidelines.
If I don't make it back here before Christmas, Happy Holidays! (But I'm thinking I will, if for nothing more than to remind you all about the Christmas Eve Adrian Belew Power Trio radio broadcast and to tell you what Julie and Gary are cooking for Christmas dinner...)
Monday, December 17, 2007
So tonight marks a very important evening in radio history and for the Adrian Belew Power Trio.
From the forum board at WCOM Radio:
"Mojo Ballroom will be broadcasting from the earth’s core this Monday; which, will clinch, for us, the title of being the most underground/hip radio program of all time (The Guiness Book of Records people will be on-site to verify). Operations are underway to erect a giant slide trajectory sort of contraption that will fling FJM into the earth’s core for the remote broadcast.
To finance this costly operation, MJBR has made a time-limited compact with the El Diablo Repo Co. who are generously financing the project. All the Devil is asking for is one song request (what could be the harm in that?) in exchange for his/her/its services. El Diablo stated that commercial radio stations were hell enough to listen to and he/she/it wanted to eliminate the competition… By the way, El Diablo does not look like Ozzy Osbourne, nor Alice Cooper, nor W., nor Ann Coulter, nor Cheney, nor that monster guy from KISS, nor Britney. El Diablo does, in-fact, bear a striking resemblance to Dr. Phil. I noticed that he/she/it was offering unsolicited advice to Robert Johnson (who was jamming away; oblivious to the evil one’s never-ending-stream of banal exhortations)."
So yep, this will take place tonight from 11:00 p.m. until midnight, dj Jonny Mambo is going to play songs from The Adrian Belew Power Trio's Side Four Live, and here is the link for the live stream.
The Christmas Eve show at the same place, also courtesy of Jonny Mambo, will be a two hour tribute to Adrian Belew, Julie Slick and Eric Slick and will air next Monday evening from 11:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. and you can be sure I'll be posting a reminder next week. I mean, how cool to be wrapping Christmas presents whilst hearing the Adrian Belew Power Trio on the radio.
And if Jonny isn't sweet enough, he also posted a review of Side Four Live:
"adrian belew, julie slick, & eric slick=Adrian Belew Power Trio
cd: side four live
rating: totally enjoyable, just go get it
rationale: able to keep jonny's attention for extended periods of time and feels good "
So thank you, Jonny Mambo.
The reason I am posting this at dawn right now is that Julie and I are off to New York City today -- a 7:00 a.m. commute -- to do some secret, major Christmas shopping for the men in our lives and to eat lunch and dinner at the most obscene restaurants we can find. Sigh...oh who am I kidding, she's dragging me to vegetarian no-fat hell. But maybe not...let's see if I can go 50-50 with her; healthy meal; decadent dessert. Or healthy lunch...thai food for dinner. Yes, I know. I have a problem with food. But it's Christmas!
Hopefully this will be a fun, uneventful trip but if our prior New York Christmas jaunts are any indication, I'm sure I'll have much to discuss here tomorrow.
P.S. And if you are anxiously awaiting your shipment of the infamous Slick Christmas cookies, they are going out by UPS today.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A cell phone photo of a traumatized Eric Slick in the hospital emergency room where we waited for hours and hours and hours this weekend before the "official diagnosis" of appendicitis.
Okay, okay, so it was me who was traumatized - Eric was actually in pretty good spirits for someone in so much pain.
So out of respect to my son, I will spare you all the "fun" details of the weekend from hell (sob...which means I can't talk about Solomon the tranny in the e.r. or any other suchlike things/horrors we witnessed), therefore, I am just writing this as an update to let you know Eric is doing much better - still in pain and on some serious medication to relieve it - but I bet he's practicing drums by the time the week is out.
I do want to briefly give you the surrounding circumstances, but more as a thank you to bass player extraordinaire Dave Dreiwitz. A lot of you have written to me and said "Oh wow, poor Eric, thank God this didn't happen while he was on tour."
Actually, Eric had just finished a gig with Dave up in Albany, New York late Friday night when he doubled over in pain which did not subside even after an hour had passed. So a very worried Dave drove Eric to the hospital in Albany and stayed with him all during the night while they tried to get to the root of the problem and even gave Eric a CT scan. Finally, at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning, they released him from the hospital because the pain had somewhat abated, telling Eric "it's probably appendicitis...a normal appendix is normally six millimeters; yours is nine, and by the way, your white blood cell count is elevated. So we recommend you go home immediately and get an abdominal recheck at a hospital where you live within the next twenty four hours."
So what had to be a very drained and exhausted Dave then drove Eric all the way home to Philadelphia after playing a gig and staying with him at the hospital throughout the night. I didn't get the phone call about any of this until they were half way home.
"Oh good grief, Eric, why didn't you call me?"
"Because I know you. You would have jumped in the car in the middle of the night and driven all the way to Albany."
Damn straight I would have.
But oh my god, thank you so much, Dave Dreiwitz, for taking such excellent care of my son. I teased Eric yesterday, now that the debacle is over, that only he could get taken to the emergency room and get such loving care from the bass player for Ween and then get a phone call from Adrian Belew, who also paid tribute to him yesterday in his blog. And hey, did you see Adrian's new website? I love it, especially the fact that you can now sample all of tracks from their new CD, Side Four Live, right on the front page. And speaking of CDs, congratulations to Ween on their new CD, which was their highest debut ever on the Billboard charts and contains my current favorite non-Adrian Belew song, Your Party.
After this weekend, I am so, so happy to be talking music.
It was pretty scary once we were at the hospital in Philadelphia because even there, they weren't sure of the diagnosis, throwing around words like gastritis, kidney stones, elevated white blood cell counts and what that could mean, the possibility of a perforated or ruptured appendix, etc. etc. and because the hospital in Albany had given Eric a CT scan, they couldn't give him another one because of the high radiation levels. So they did more blood work and contacted Albany who then faxed their CT scan results to Philadelphia...anyway, the bottom line of this whole nightmare was that we did not get to speak to the surgeon until after 6:00 p.m. Sunday night and he finally said "Look, I am "pretty sure" it's appendicitis. You have three options here. I can either send you home but it's my guess you'll be back here within the next day or so and by then the appendix may rupture but then again, there's always the chance that the appendix will heal itself and it's just an infection; I can do another CT scan but don't recommend it because of the radiation, or, I can just take out his appendix now and be done with it. The very worst scenario is that I take out a healthy appendix but at least he'll never have to worry about appendicitis in the future..."
Yep, that's what he said.
I looked him in the eye and said, "Well, if it was your son, what would you do?"
He didn't hesitate.
"I'd take it out now before it ruptures..." (and then he proceeded to tell me how deadly a rupture could be, as if I didn't already spend six hours on Google researching it myself once I got the first phone call from Eric. Note to self: Never, ever, ever research medical conditions on Google again. Oy. Web MD can turn a paper cut into something fatal)
Anyway, finally, at 10:00 p.m. Sunday night, they operated...and how weird was the pre-op room...dark, deserted...right out of a horror movie...and yep, it was appendicitis - the doctor made the right call...had it not been removed it would have burst and that would have been a total nightmare, especially if Eric was out on tour far from home or in another country...arghh...the scenario any way you look at it isn't pretty.
Unfortunately, the decision was made for invasive surgery as opposed to laproscopic surgery which made it more painful for Eric but the circumstances and placement of his appendix made it necessary -- and too funny, Eric had to sign forms permitting his surgery/medical records be used for "research and teaching purposes" because naturally his appendix was not where it was supposed to be -- his apparently was in hiding behind his colon...yikes..okay, I have already given you way too much information and my son is going to have my head so enough of that, he's fine and thank God it's over.
Oh, I do have to add one more thing. During the course of all of the questioning at the hospital, the doctors learned Eric is a drummer and the surgeon said "Hey, do you have your new CD here? We can play it in the operating room while we remove your appendix."
Ha ha, that was all I had to hear. I called Gary, who was enroute to the hospital with Julie (I made him stay home until we had the official diagnosis - there was no sense all of us being in the e.r. going nuts for hours and hours), and asked him if he had Side Four Live in the car. Der. Of course he did. And in a stroke of magical luck, he arrived at the hospital with CD in hand just as they were wheeling Eric into surgery.
We were then led to a "hospitality room" adjacent to the operating room to wait while Eric had his appendix removed. When the doctor finally came in an hour or so later to tell us the operation was a success, he added "Wow, all of us - doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists - were rocking out to the music during Eric's surgery."
(Eric would later tell me that his last conscious moment before the anesthesia took hold was hearing Writing on the Wall, which is the first track on the CD, and thinking to himself "this is surreal")
Now of course the best part of this story was Eric being wheeled from surgery into his actual hospital room where we were already waiting for him, because he said things under anesthesia which had us laughing so hard the nurse looked at us really, really strangely -- like, hey, your son just had major surgery and you three are giggling like idiots, but he was so fucking funny we had tears running down our faces.
No, no, I can't tell you what he said (or did)...but it sure took the edge off the two tensest, scariest days of my life.
And that is the story of Eric's appendectomy.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Thank you for all of your kind emails, which I hope to answer tomorrow.
After many harrowing hours at the hospital, Eric's appendix was (were?) removed at 10:00 p.m. tonight. We just got home this very minute though we would have liked to stay the night - he's very uncomfortable though the surgeon assured us the operation was a complete success and his recovery should be uneventful and fairly rapid.
Fingers crossed for that -- if everything goes as planned, he may even be released from Jefferson Hospital tomorrow afternoon.
I'm exhausted so I'm going to bed and will post more details tomorrow.
After many harrowing hours at the hospital, Eric's appendix was (were?) removed at 10:00 p.m. tonight. We just got home this very minute though we would have liked to stay the night - he's very uncomfortable though the surgeon assured us the operation was a complete success and his recovery should be uneventful and fairly rapid.
Fingers crossed for that -- if everything goes as planned, he may even be released from Jefferson Hospital tomorrow afternoon.
I'm exhausted so I'm going to bed and will post more details tomorrow.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
This Saturday - Dec 8th, 2007
Parkside Lounge, NYC
11:30 - Wrong
10:30 - Crescent Moon (duo featuring Dave Dreiwitz and Eric Slick)
9:30 - John Frazier and the 8 Year Olds
The 8 Year Olds feature multi-string player Pinky Weitzman and John Frazier is known for fronting the band "Works on Blue" with vocals and guitar. *standard 45 minute set.
Crescent Moon features bassist Dave Dreiwitz (ween & tiny lights) and drummer Eric Slick (Adrian Belew & Project/Object). *standard 30-40 minute set
Wrong features the members of Wrong. Including me (robbie seahag). *Standard 1hr 30 minute set.
Please show up at 9:30 to party.
So yesterday I had the first of some unexpected painful dental work which...woo hoo...will continue through 2008.
Please kill me.
My food intake for the past two days has consisted of soup and brandy. But oh, what soup it was -- daughter Julie, the angel who can do everything, whipped up a vegetarian tomato curry with lots of "soft" vegetables for me which was freaking amazing -- she brought it over in a huge thermos. What a sweetheart!
Speaking of said sweetheart and her equally sweetheart of a brother, here's yet another most excellent review of Side Four Live written by my hero Scott over at Planet Crimson:
"My copy arrived yesterday and I spun it up right away but the house was full and I couldn't really give it a proper listen. The house is quieter today and I've escaped to some headphone bliss while working. My first reaction:
I've always loved good bass players so it isn't a surprise how often my attention is drawn to Julie's playing. Still I must say that Julie Slick is a BEAST. To see her perform and make it look so damn easy is enough to make an old frustrated player like me alternate between feelings of awe and jealousy. When I saw the trio play in Annapolis last year I told my friend that I was going to go home and sell my bass on eBay. Unfortunately for my family, I didn't.
Eric's playing seems to always be just right. He grooves when he's supposed to groove, and thrashes when he's supposed to thrash. Remembering that he's playing a small (5 piece?) kit makes the performance even more impressive. I'll go out on a limb and say that I think Eric Slick has quite a future ahead of him (and his present ain't so bad either).
Like Mark said, the old guy ain't bad either. It's no secret on this board that I really dig Adrian Belew. He's turned in so many great live performances in the past that you almost take it for granted that Ade will give you his all. He hasn't disappointed me yet and this recording is no exception. Looping parts to become his own rhythm guitarist with ease and then soaring guitar solos over top that seem to just pour out. The guy is one of the most expressive players I've ever heard. The best part is that he is obviously having so much fun that it's probably illegal in Utah. You can almost see the grin on his face after every song."
Scott is also responsible for my new banner at the top of this blog, which, if you click on it, will take you to Ade's website where you can then click on "Store Belew" to order Side Four Live. However, there is something very special planned for next week...and that's all I'm saying...so after that occurs, the link will take you directly to exactly where you want to go...right to Side Four Live.
And speaking of Side Four Live, Grant Street Press has already declared it one of its top five picks for best CD of 2007!
"2007 Albums of the Year:
Honorable Mention: King Crimson: The Collectible King Crimson Vol. 2: Belew's first live gig as Discipline in Bath, England (1981), drawn from a restored cassette recording. Also a Philadelphia gig from July 30th 1982. Excellent quality, great liner notes, we all should be drinking the Robert Fripp cool aid.
5. Explosions In The Sky: All Of a Sudden I Miss Everyone However you brand this type of avant-instrumental rock, this outfit has taken the helm. Everything I've ever heard from them is tight and original. It all comes down to if you got the palette.
4. Adrian Belew: Side 4 Lucky enough to see this tour at B.B. King's Times Square Aug. 8th, 2006, I can tell you that this is the 2nd best thing. Julie, and Eric Slick make up his Power Trio, and they rip through the first three sides, hit some classic Belew, and visit the Crimso years as well. I feel like ordering the grouper fingers, and an Amstel every time I listen to it.
3. Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank The addition of Johnny Marr to Modest Mouse was like adding triple sec to your favorite boozy concoction with a hint of fruit. It smooths it out. No matter what Isaac Brock puts out, it's something to be considered, and here he has a few tunes that to me are among his best. Mixed within another smattering of what should be America's most popular band.
2. Iron and Wine: The Shepard's Dog Listening to this album is the equivalent of spending a late evening amongst good friends. The dust blown off contemplative moments, raucous times, and the black bear claw that took grandma's dog. If the musical element wasn't intriguing enough, the enclosed lyric poster will bring it on home. An essential contemporary rock album.
1. Robert Wyatt: Comicopera: Whatever may come out between now and Jan. 1st could not top this album as the most important work of the year. Though I guess if I had a machine that could travel through time and still write this column, I would say that every time Robert Wyatt released an album. Though the present release puts Garcia Lorca to music, gets some Enotronic treatment, got some Paul Weller, Phil Manzanera, and even Dave Sinclair playing piano on a track. I don't want to give it all away, as you should make it a point to put this in your collection. No matter who you are."
By the way, dj extraordinaire Jeff Menke will be playing cuts from Side Four Live on his show tonight, which runs from midnight until 2:00 a.m. You can get the live stream right here.
In other news, yep, it's true, Papa Slick has updated his blog and I know I am prejudiced but it's a most interesting read. Gary is extremely knowledgeable about music -- I mean, the man even saw the Beatles and Hendrix live as a little baby hippie -- and is incredibly passionate about "Saving the Music" and not in VH1 terms (though there's nothing wrong with that). Please pop over and have a read and as I sit here, I am thinking of ways we can all make a difference. One small but significant baby step I am considering is to start a grass roots on line Petition which we will all sign, post on our respective blogs and websites, and with which we can then all bombard radio stations, record companies, etc. across the country. Your additional suggestions are more than welcome - please post any thoughts you have over at Gary's blog. Cool? Cool!
And as you can see from the poster above, just a reminder that son Eric, who has been on the road with Crescent Moon, plays tonight in New York City at the Parkside Lounge, and oh oh oh, I wish I could be there, especially since today is also Santarchy in Central Park.
Julie and I accidentally stumbled on that last year, and I would normally have not missed it for the world but Julie and I will be in New York on Monday and oh boy, will I have a story in connection with that for you next week...
But seriously, if you are anywhere near New York City today, you really need to go to Central Park and see this. Trust me - it is so, so worth it. And then you can catch Eric at the Parkside Lounge afterwards and make it an absolutely perfect day altogether.
In other Eric news, he's got some more gigs lined up with Delicious...more on that later...but in the meantime, here are the dates and venues:
24 Jan 2008 22:00
Funhouse Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
25 Jan 2008 20:00
Black Lodge Philladelphia, Pennsylvania
27 Jan 2008 21:00
Asbury Lanes Asbury Park, New Jersey
Ha ha - I just realized the times are "military" and I can never figure that out but I am making an educated guess that 22:00 is 10:00 p.m. and 21:00 is 9:00 p.m....please correct me if I am wrong. Or not. We have six weeks to go so I'm sure I'll have it sorted out by then. I just know that sometime between his gigs with Crescent Moon -- and don't forget the show on December 28 at John and Peters -- Eric will also be returning to Casa Belew in Nashville for lots of pre-tour work.
I know I've said this before but I really want my kids' lives. Although my life is more than a little interesting lately, too...stay tuned for further details.
On a final sobering note, as I just went to post this entry, I realized that today is December 8. I can never see or say that date without feeling the worse sense of pain and loss. A moment of silence, please, for the late, great John Lennon.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Cover Painting by Adrian Belew
Before I get to the news of the day, which are incredible reviews of Side Four Live, two major, important events are occurring today.
First, Thursday, December 6, 2007, Gary Slick launches his brand new blog, which is cleverly titled "Sir-Realistic Fellow" and please visit to find out (1) why it has that name and (2) for a way cool, behind-the-scenes story about the trio and their new CD. I also love the name of his opening post: Greetings from 21st Century Schizoid Dad. Ha! It's a fun read but even funnier was Julie's face when she walked into the living room at 10:00 p.m. last night and saw Gary at the computer busily typing away while I sipped a brandy moodily at the dining room table. She totally cracked up, like, What's wrong with this picture?
"What's the matter, Mom, is Dad stealing your computer time?"
She laughed again. "You are so lying."
"I am not. Daddy is working on his new blog. I think it's awesome. I'm just tired -- you know me, I'm in bed by 10:00 p.m. but I'm staying here in case Dad needs my help."
"You can go to bed," Gary said.
Julie giggled again and then turned her teasing to him.
"Oh come on, Dad. Eric and I teased Mom like crazy when she first went on line back in 2000. (Yeah, I was a late bloomer). It's part of the initiation."
I stuck my tongue out her; she left to go see her boyfriend Matt's band -- more on that in a minute -- play at a bar in Old City...Gary resumed typing, and I finished my brandy and gratefully accepted his kind offer to call it a night. Monty Dog and I snuggled under the covers, and I don't know what time he finished up, only that when I came downstairs this morning there was a new and shiny blogpost all ready to go.
So yay, Gary! Welcome to the world of blogging!
Which brings us to new item #2. Julie's boyfriend Matt, as you know, is in an awesome band known as Cheers Elephant, (by the way, Julie produced the tracks on their CD which you can sample on their website)...and they are taking part in a wonderful concert tonight at World Cafe Live as part of Musicians on Call, which is a community outreach program that brings live music performances to patients in healthcare facilities around the Philadelphia area. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. tonight and the show starts at 7:30 -- anyway, I hope to see a lot of you there.
Okay, I know I am prejudiced, but I also consider myself a musicologist. So when I heard Side Four Live for the first time, I was like, is it just me or is this the best freaking new CD to be released this year?
Apparently, I'm not alone in my sentiments.
From Ramiro Rodriguez over the Planet Crimson Forum Board...and I have to say, Ade seem to have the most artistically talented fan base of any musician out there. Click on Ramiro's link - his work is outstanding and I think that's one of the things I love most about this blog...that I am constantly turned on to the coolest people.
"My impressions of the new
Adrian Belew (and the Power Trio)
Side Four (Live) cd
Ade’s powerhouse trio kicks off with a frenetic yet tasty “Writing on the Wall” that is solidly grounded by Julie Slick’s bottom end. Makes me wonder if this is why the young woman wears no shoes on stage – to keep Adrian and her brother Eric’s fast paced chops from sailing off through the roof.
An old Crimson favorite from THRAK, “Dinosaur” comes next. The composition gets some new twists from the Trio, mainly substituting the synth guitar break for some signature Belew dino blasts. The Power Trio does the Double Trio proud.
The main groove of “Ampersand” gets more of an ebb and flow feel than the previous “Sides” cd versions. The drumming is not as busy yet still powerful with the right amount of finesse.
“Young Lions” has all the galloping jungle rhythm of the cd version. An added, almost bolero-esque, break provides the base for some crazy Belew guitar pyrotechnics.
Eric leads off “Beat Box Guitar” with some fine high-hat sticking. The trio has really expanded this gem into a highlight jam platform. The talented Slick rhythm section really holds it down while Adrian works over the top with an assorted bag of guitar sounds that are pure Belew. However this isn’t just a showcase for Ade, the three musicians really lock in with some great interplay and even drop in a “Discipline” nod.
Adrian’s layered backwards guitar sound on “Matchless Man” is one of the most strangely beautiful effects I’ve ever heard.
Eric and Julie lay down the ominous grounding groove to one of the harder songs for me to listen to on cd - “A Little Madness.” It’s difficult listening for sure. Live, however, this beast builds with the layered architecture of maddening looped Belew wailings. The live experience feel is excellently captured on Side Four and this track is the proof of the quality engineering and mastering done by John Sinks and Saul Zonana respectively.
The hypnotic, “Drive,” allows an intermission of sorts as the Slicks take a breather. Adrian accompanies himself via rhythms built from loops. My very favorite part in this solo piece speaks to my inner Beatlemaniac - the “Within You Without You” reference. Wow!
The Slicks rejoin Ade for a rollicking “Of Bow and Drum” complete with ghost harmony vocals by Biff Blumfumgagne. I’ve always loved the pinched squeal of the guitar on this piece but it’s Belew’s attention to contrast in texture that really makes it for me. Julie and Eric’s groove at the end is a treat as well.
The re-vamped, big drum sound of “Big Electric Cat” made me think I was going to hear “Gun Man” for the first few beats. The update polishes up this older favorite.
Two classic 80’s Crimson songs played as encores during the tour close out the cd. “Three of a Perfect Pair” is probably my favorite KC tune and watching/hearing Adrian playing his and Robert’s parts while singing in odd time is amazing. Julie’s playing and rich sound should make Tony smile. A short nod in the “Frame by Frame” direction is fun to hear as well.
A run through “Thela Hun Ginjeet” makes for the perfect leave-them-wanting-more ending to a great set and cd. Adrian is always a pleasure to experience live. I’ve seen him many times over the years with Crimson, the Bears and solo. Every time I’ve seen him play he always looks like he’s having the time of his life on stage. It’s nice to hear a recording that captures that sense of joy and satisfaction. Time to hit repeat."
From my pal Robert Belew (no relation to Ade; he just coincidentally has the same name) over at My Belew Marble:
Side Four (live)
"I received this tasty slice of time in the ol' postal receptacle yesterday.
Recorded live at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton, Ohio on February 16th, 2007
If you have seen The Power Trio, or better yet, if you haven't, you are going to be enthralled with this sonically thrilling roller coaster ride that is anything but coasting.
As Adrian proclaims in the brief liner notes, "this is the raw unadorned account of most of what happened next."
I actually like the fact that it's unpolished after the fact and shows how cohesive and gifted this unit is.
On the other hand, it still has that edge to it that says "this is live", warts be damned, of which there are few.
Julie Slick's bass comes through thunderously on this recording and really shows her understanding of the material, Julie is a Thonk Queen. Eric is capable of drumming with the best, and has.
I started listening, as I could, in my car and it sounded awesome. I decided to move indoors to my HDCD decoding surround system and start from the start.
This is as close to what it might sound like on the studio monitors as a poor boy could get on a shoestring.
The disc clocks in at a tad over 67 minutes with a minimum of stage banter and a focus on the music, as it should be.
John Sinks has settled nicely into the sound engineer seat and this recording shows it. We all dearly miss Ken but I think he would be tipping his hat to his friend for his work at the helm.
Biff Blumfumgagne has taken over as stage tech and provided those hither to mysterious backing vocals and harmonies.
The Crimson cuts, while having been recorded live in many settings before this, take on a new life and are welcome additions to the Trio cannon. Dinosaur seems fresh and driven with a slightly quicker pace to my ears.
Young Lions, which has been one of the "solo" spotlights in the past, is given the full three piece treatment here and it is a rollicking rendition indeed.
The true "star" here though is the new material plus "Of Bow & Drum". (Is it too late to tour the Op Zop album proper?)
The Grammy nominated "Beat Box Guitar" has some space in the middle for Adrian, Eric and Julie to play around a bit and, they do.
"A Little Bit of Madness" is a barn burner and I'm surprised that the venue is still standing at the end.
Adrian gives full voice to the Belewps concept in "Drive" with the rhythm section on break. The sound of the car starting this track off moves around in my speakers and drives right on by as Adrian digs in.
"Writing on the Wall", "Ampersand", Matchless Man" all come across as fresh and exciting, considering that Eric and Julie did not play on the originals, they have had space to make these versions their own.
"Big Electric Cat", a favorite of college radio in the way back when, is always fun and welcome, this rendition is no exception with new life.
In the musical circles that I frequent, talk of the annual "best of 2007" lists has already begun in earnest. I'm glad that Side Four has hit the ground in time to be in mine.
As with the previous "sides", this one has cover art as painted by Adrian with a great band photo by Mark Colman.
Mixed and Mastered by Saul Zonana.
Thanks to Rob Murphree, the official Webmunky, for keeping us informed and providing a home for the Elephant Blog and download store which has provided a whole new way for us to appreciate and keep tabs on the world of all things Belew.
Thanks to Adrian for taking the time to share in the Blogosphere and regale the loving public with so many fascinating tales.
Oh, and, thanks for the great music of which there has been an abundance, in the past few years."
So how freaking cool was that?
Today has therefore started on the kind of note I like, and I even got what could be some very interesting...okay, great...writing news which I will share as soon as I know more.
In the meantime, make yourself or someone you love very happy and pick up your copy of Side Four Live today. To make it easy for you, I will repost the link again right here.
And hey, hey, it's not on their website yet, but another show has just been added to the spring Belew tour - March 2 at the Fox Theater in Boulder, Colorado.
And oh my, today is also the birthday of two very special people - my way cool brother, David, and my brilliant writer pal Maryanne Stahl. Happy Birthday, you two!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Amazing poster of the trio put together by Scott Abernethy of Nerdy Rhino Development.
So some really sweet reviews are starting to come in for Side Four Live and I'll post a few snippets here, but first I want to give you a heads up as to a couple of new shows just added to the Adrian Belew Power Trio spring tour:
On March 1, the trio will be in Aspen, Colorado at the Belly Up and after having a look at the photos of that venue and Aspen itself, I'm wishing I was on this entire month long tour and not just the west coast leg as previously planned but oh well...maybe next time. I think I already mentioned this, but there is also a show now scheduled for Cleveland, Ohio at the Beachland Ballroom on March 7.
As far as I know, the tour schedule is almost complete now, but look for a date or two to be added in Chicago the first week of March and possibly a date in Denver...stay tuned...you know I will post the news here as soon as it's confirmed. I'm kind of freaking out that this tour will be like a show a night for an entire month. Can you believe how amazing this trio will be after playing together that much? Don't kill me for this, but you should hear the Japan recordings when they played two shows a night for over a week. If there are three tighter more talented musicians in the universe, I do not know who they are.
So here's a couple of blurbs I've found/received so far as concerns Side Four Live:
"...I realized I needed something rude and noisy to kick me out of the funk I’d gotten into, and that thing was Adrian Belew’s Side Four (Live), which arrived yesterday bearing the signatures of all three members of the trio. The amount of noise that guy can create on one guitar, live, is simply astounding, and he’s backed by a very able rhythm section in the form of the brother-sister duo of Eric and Julie Slick on drums and bass, respectively. She is especially impressive, nailing not only Tony Levin’s bass parts but his tone - and all at all of 20 years old. She’s going to have quite a career ahead of her."
Mike Inman, a very talented artist who should really get himself a website (ha ha - I hear Scott at Nerdy Rhino is most excellent, Mike) sent an email which blew me away:
"Did you get yours yet? The new ADRIAN BELEW - SIDE FOUR LIVE?
I must say as amazing as Adrian is on guitar.....when i watch or listen to those two play I have to say that Adrian is truly the third of a PERFECT PAIR!
I have seen them live now once and I was so blown away! As much of a guitar freak as I am......when i was there I was paying more attention to Eric and Julie....because it's like the two of them make up this most incredible wall of sound and Adrian is wedged in between....anyone else get what i mean?
His playing is INCREDIBLE and he is one of my all time favorite guitarist... and I live for guitar playing like his but when the bass and drums can make me watch them more than the guitarist... well I think that is nothing short of MIRACULOUS! for me anyway!
I am listening to this new cd and THIS CONCERT WAS TRULY MAGICAL!
The recording really does do the live performance justice and that is a very hard thing to capture!
HOWEVER This cd is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES NOW! And hey...I even had a few audience recordings from this tour.....but this show..this recording this mix...i must say its AMAZING!
KEEP THOSE TWO AT YOUR SIDE ADE! YOU ALL THREE ROCK!
Thanks so much for Robin letting me know the other day that the CD was on its way...for me THIS IS CHRISTMAS NOW! This is MY BEST PRESENT ALL YEAR!.......
I am only on song 5 BEAT BOX GUITAR! OH BOY! ...if you don't have this RUSH AND GET YOUR COPY NOW!
ERIC REMINDS ME of the POWER OF MOONEY ON DRUMS! KEITH MOON!
PEACE to all in the TRIO! KEEP UP THE INCREDIBLE WORK and PLEASE COME BACK TO CHARLOTTE NC..."
My good buddy Rena, who I am finally going to get to meet in person when the Belew tour swings by San Francisco in February (and by the way, I will be doing a reading/signing in that city and maybe another west coast town or two at a couple of bookstores while I'm there...more details to follow) left me a comment on my blog yesterday:
"Guess what I'm listening to?!!! I love everything about it. The note, the pics, the music - I love it all! And I couldn't help but notice that your name is listed inside too! What a thrill! Congratulations on the kids first, with many to come I'm sure. It's only just begun.."
Yeah, I didn't want to mention it until the CD actually went on sale and people started receiving copies, but imagine my delight and shock and yeah, yeah, tears, when I saw that Gary and I are thanked on the inside flap of the CD. I mean, come on, a rock and roll legend acknowledged the two of us on this brilliant recording and I wasn't supposed to break down weeping? Ha! Now I haven't been able to wipe this goofy ass grin off my face for days.
From the Planet Crimson Forum Board:
"Eric Slick Rocks!!!
It needed to be said."
"Julie Slick Rocks!!!
The old guy ain't bad either."
So that's just after day one...the CDs literally were just sent out and I cannot wait to read more reviews after others have had the chance to have a listen. I will trade books for CD reviews - my books, that is, so if you forward me your reviews to either post here or to send to various music 'zines on the web, I will in turn forward you an autographed copy of Three Days in New York City or Another Bite of the Apple or both...your wish is my command.
In other news, as I mentioned here the other day, Eric is currently on tour with Dave Dreiwitz of Ween in this amazing bass and drums band known as Crescent Moon. Their schedule is as follows:
Thursday, December 6 at Nectar's in Burlington, Vermont;
Friday, December 7 at Red Square in Albany, New York;
Saturday, December 8 at the Parkside Lounge in New York City.
For more details on this mini-tour and other nice things, visit the Ween Forum Board.
Okay, that's it for now...more dish later when I have a chance to recover from all the excitement of this morning...
Monday, December 03, 2007
I love those photos of Adrian, Eric, and Julie. They were taken at the Quebec Summer Music Festival, July 11, 2007 by Yves Gagnon.
So a bunch of cool stuff happened recently as concerns the release of Side Four Live.
My absolute favorite, of course, would be a comment posted on my last blog entry as follows:
"festinagreg has left a new comment on your post "Art Appreciation Day on the Slick Blog...:
Side Four arrived today! I wasn't sure they could capture the power and intensity of the live show but it is so amazing. Your kids have taken Adrian to a new level."
Tell me that didn't make my day. I got the chills.
There's Adrian, autographing several CDs at Casa Belew, which, as you can see if you click on the photo and make it grow before your eyes, already contain Julie and Eric's signatures and which a bunch of lucky fans should be receiving as early Christmas presents this week. And hey, please also notice the amazing photo of the trio taken by Mark Colman which appears on the inner flap.
I don't remember if I posted this or not, but this month Julie will be interviewed by bassist extraordinaire Bryan Beller for Bass Player Magazine.
Friday, we had a photo shoot at our house for a feature which will appear in the March/April issue of Philadelphia Style Magazine. Julie and Eric are being interviewed as "Vanguards" - Philadelphia celebrities - in connection with the release of their new CD and show at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on March 12, 2008.
On Thursday, Gary was listening to WXPN and they were having their pledge drive. One of the premiums being offered for a large pledge was a scholarship at Rock School. Jim McGuinn, the program director for YRock at XPN mentioned that two of the rock school graduates had gone on to play with Adrian Belew and how excellent was that.
Gary works five minutes away from XPN's studios and decided to swing by with a copy of Side Four Live. Jim McGuinn freaked out and got on the radio and said "The coolest thing just happened. Gary Slick stopped by with the new Belew CD, and yeah, his daughter, Julie Slick is Adrian's bassist and son, Eric Slick, is his drummer, and they are the first two graduates of the Paul Green School of Rock Music to officially "make it"." Anyway, off the air, Jim and Gary had a chat and Jim was really psyched about the CD and said he would be in touch so fingers crossed you'll be hearing cuts from the CD on YRock on XPN sometime soon as well as some other possible cool stuff in connection with XPN...
Eric is doing a couple of shows this week with Crescent Moon - he'll be in Vermont on Thursday and New York on Friday - never a dull moment in that man's life...and Julie and I are busy planning our annual Christmas trip to New York...that always yields a hell of a good story. The best might have been last year when we stayed the Bates Motel and saw 10,000 Santas and a dildo menorah but then again, it is hard to beat Christmas, 2005 when I had a panic attack in Chinatown...check out the archives here for December 2005 and 2006 if you want a good laugh.
And hey ho, I see that mysterious, infamous author has posted the blurb I wrote for his/her new collection of short stories, which, by the way, I strongly urge you to order right here. Trust me on this. You will thank me later. Big time.
Finally, don't forget to check out the always changing eric slick dot com for Eric's most recent news, tour dates, and updated blog posts.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Art Appreciation Day on the Slick Blog, or, My un-birthday card from, erm, Neil Gaiman, I mean, Eric Slick, and the brilliant work of Julie Slick
Too funny - even though it was Gary's birthday, Eric, who always creates the absolute best greeting cards, felt compelled to make me an un-birthday card, and before I even read it, I burst out laughing as soon as I saw what I think is an incredibly great drawing of Neil Gaiman and immediately reached for my camera...then I read what the card actually said and broke up giggling altogether.
So yeah, as I pointed out in yesterday's post, Gary is now officially middle-aged (ha ha) and maybe it's just me, but on a scale of one to ten, his birthday was like off the charts. First, as I showed via the photographs I put up in my aforesaid blog entry of November 28, he got to finally hold Side Four Live in his hands (we only listened to it like a thousand more times last night, nothing too extreme) and then we (all of us, even Monty dog) walked over to boyfriend Matt's house where Julie prepared probably the best dinner ever, and even though I had my new camera phone with me, I regret to say that I was so busy stuffing my face, I forgot to take photos of the meal, which is really regrettable since as delicious as it was (details to follow), the presentation was magnificent. However, I did finally remember to take photos of some of Julie's artwork hanging on the walls at Matt's place, and I was so preoccupied with that I totally forgot to take food pics.
Here's a portrait she did of one of my heroes, Kurt Vonnegut, and Julie, I know you don't read my blog but Eric, tell your sister I want one of these for Christmas!
Next, we have her amazing sketch of Nietzsche;
How about a little Camus...
And finally, last but not least, from Terry Gilliam's brilliant Brazil:
Julie and Eric do not have too much talent, huh. But all kidding aside, if you look at some of the great musicians out there, many of them are/were great artists as well...Lennon, Clapton, Ron Wood, Bowie, Belew...the list is endless. I honestly thought Julie would go to art school; Eric was drumming at age two and Julie didn't seem interested in music until one day at age eleven she idly picked up one of Gary's basses and then asked for a mega-expensive Fender for Christmas, which I said we'd buy her if she would agree to take actual music lessons...and that's how we met Paul Green and the rest is history...
Okay, so what did Julie prepare for Gary's birthday dinner?
She made four different meals, which is mind blowing in itself - one for vegetarian Eric, one for carnivores Matt and Gary, seafood for Julie and me, and then she actually made me a separate lunch to have for today.
For Eric, she stuffed huge portobello mushrooms with roasted artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, and cheese and a side of those sick mashed potatoes she also made at Thanksgiving. For Gary and Matt, braised short ribs which sat in a puddle of horseradish cream served over mashed potatoes, topped with a stuffed portobello mushroom ala Eric's platter, and for the two of us, the same dish, minus the cheese and short ribs, but with seared scallops instead. For my noon meal today, she made brown rice which she tossed with all kinds of veggies, more seared scallops, and topped with a honey mustard shallot dressing.
Is it lunchtime yet?
Dessert was a cream cheese pound cake with a fresh blackberry compote - she found berries the size of softballs...it was truly one of those meals where you let out sensual sighs with every bite.
Life is so, so good right now...