Friday, July 27, 2007
The Twang Bar Zing (and some news from Simon and Schuster!)
Okay, it's not that I'm fixated on Biff Blumfumgagnge (just his name), but there he is, Adrian's engineer, under a sign in Tokyo which defies all comment.
And here are some other pics from Tokyo, all weirdly self-explanatory:
So I would launch into Belew Power Trio stories about their tour in Japan last week, but Adrian is doing such an incredibly wonderful job on his own blog that I must defer to him. I did want to mention, however, that the Twang Bar Zing, the cocktail that Ade mentioned was created for him at the Blue Note in Tokyo, was actually named by his very brilliant drummer, Mr. Eric Slick.
And in case you didn't see them, some of the comments Adrian is getting from his readers are blowing my mind and I want to share a few here:
For example, Dennis Gunn said:
"I guess those Canadians would fall over and die if they saw the royal treatment us lucky fans here in Tokyo got.
It was fabulous to see the greatest rock and roll 3 piece right up close in the tiny Tokyo blue note.
So fabulous in fact that I just had to raid the piggy bank and go back for two more nights in a row. But that was nothing compared to at least one guy in the Audience who was there for all 12 Blue Note shows.
All the shows were great but of the ones I saw the second Saturday Night show was the Barn Burner.
Adrian belew my mind when I first heard him on "The Lodger" 28 years and he has been continueing to do so ever since. It is not just the other worldly melodies and modality, but the way he is the master of not just his guitar but every item in his signal chain. Everything in his vicinity including the air itself is his instrument and he gets everything out of it there is to be had.
I felt this in a HUGE way the first time I saw him with KC at the Show Box in Seattle 25 years ago, and now after all this time his signal chain has gotten vastly more complex and the melodies of his improvisations have gotten even deeper, and on Saturday night at the Blue Note in Tokyo there were these moments when there was that click when all the atoms in the room seemed to align and bounce along to that higher level of awareness that all great music seems to be trying to touch.
But enough pompous music critic bullshit, bottom line it was one of if not *the* best Rock and Roll show I have ever seen.
Tokyo Blue Note tickets are a small fortune but it was a tiny price to pay to see the greatest living electic guitarist in such an intimate venue...
...So while it was extremely fun to see the ABPT playing such to such an intimate gathering it pained me to see the hottest rock band in the world playing to such a small audience and I could see a lot of people in the audience wanting to get up an boogy to Young Lion, Frame by Frame, Elephant Talk etc. but refraining for fear of upturning tables and spreading those expensive sausage plates and beers all over the floor.
Anyway thanks again for the great Rock and Roll."
And David Ly writes:
"I must echo the sentiments. Having been fortunate enough to've been in Indy near the kick-off of this 'fab free', I'm not surprised by these extrapolations.
I try not to fall into 'best of' traps, so in attempted fairness to past live renditions of 'Solo-Ade', I have to say the difference is, rather, intangible:
It would be too easy to give credit to the youth and enthusiasm of the youngsters Slick, and indeed Adrian, you've said that's why you searched out relative inexperience: to avoid jadedness.
I think perhaps this band is so on fire because of the fact that they're at once bright-eyed and bushy tailed with outstanding chops to catch one off guard, if you will. This simply blows us away.
We can't discount Eric's frenetic fervor and Julie's cool competence. That's rock and roll, man!! And these carry over and make Adrian even more animated, yet focused somehow, qualities he's never lacked. Cheesy as it sounds, I'm really happy for you, Ade.
If y'all're anywhere near these "guys" in the coming months, you gotta check 'em out. Whatever it is, they got it."
Yep, I agree, David. I can't wait to see them again myself. Now I'm thinking I'll do West Palm Beach and Mexico. I need my Power Trio Fix! And just think - in approximately three weeks, they are back on the road again, though I should mention that Eric is leaving for Germany this coming Wednesday August 1 through Monday, August 6, 2007 to play Zappanale with Project Object...and heart be still, four Zappa alumni will be on stage at this event: Napoleon Murphy Brock, Ike Willis, Don Preston, and Chad Wackerman. And Eric gets to play with all of these legends -- well, Napi and Ike and Don are in Project Object with Eric but everyone jumps up on stage for the grand finale the last night of the festival.
Oh, and Eric also has a couple of Dave Dreiwitz/Crescent Moon gigs coming up - one on August 16 at the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, New Jersey and the other on August 31 at the Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, New Jersey...I guess he'll do the August 16 gig with Dave and then immediately hop on a plane for the August 19 gig with Adrian in Asheville, North Carolina. Yeah, yeah, I've said it before - what an incredible life my son and daughter have. Julie is using this hiatus to record several bands so she's staying busy and productive as well.
Hey, here's a quick clip of the Adrian Belew Power Trio in Quebec on July 11, 2007 where they played in a driving rainstorm. The quality of the film isn't great, but it's still very cool to see the trio in action under those circumstances:
There are lot of cool reviews coming out of Japan, but I'm really struggling with the American translations...I'm going to enlist the help of friends and will be posting them shortly, though. One person who emailed me is an American reporter living in Tokyo who also writes for Relix and Jambands -- his name is Steve Shayman -- and here's what he wrote to me:
"I enjoyed the excellent show at Tokyo Blue Note on opening night, Tuesday (yesterday). I went to the late show, and I must complement you Mrs. Slick, for raising a couple of rockin' kids! Adrian sure knows how to pick a band!
...I'm a journalist here in Japan (currently at The Daily Yomiuri), and you can see the music-related stuff I've done by searching under my last name, shayman, at: www.japantimes.com, www.jambands.com and www.relix.com.
Steve and I have been emailing back and forth and he may in fact write a review of the show for one or two of the above magazines...I will keep you posted.
Here's something interesting I learned today: Joining Paul McCartney, Sonic Youth, Eddie Vedder and other luminaries on the new Starbucks record label is none other than Joni Mitchell. So here's what I'm saying. Starbucks Music, or Hear Music as it's called, is suddenly very, very cool. So I did some on line investigating and found out that it's because they've teamed with Concord Music Group. Take a look at some of the other artists who share this label...wait...let me give you a link to the list.
If they were really smart, they'd snap up Side Four Live. Oh my god, I cannot wait for the rest of the world to hear this CD. It is quite possibly the best thing I have ever heard in my life.
So in other news, yeah, it's true. My hard drive crashed and I lost lots of stuff. Thankfully I'd uploaded most of my photos to my Photobucket site as well as this blog and I had the foresight to email my novel to myself at gmail...but I seem to have lost all of my AOL mail - both incoming and outgoing. And my address book.
I was heartsick at first but then I realized oh for pity's sake, it's a piece of plastic...get over it and get over yourself. So you lost some data. Big deal. Is your family healthy and loving? Are you? Are you having the best freaking year of your entire life?
And really, what did I lose that I can't replace? Err...my private collection of Neil Gaiman photos which he sent to me personally? Arghhh...
Oh, I'm just joking. Trust me, I'll survive.
All kidding aside, since the computer crashed while Julie and Eric were in Japan and they both had their laptops, I was totally computerless for days. At first I was weirded out and didn't know what to do with myself...then I actually started enjoying the freedom. Gary and I did "normal" stuff together - we did things around the house; we went shopping and bought pretty, frivolous objects like embroidered silk throw pillows and a new blanket and sheets...we had a blast. I also did some writing in longhand, listened to music...I ended up feeling like I was on vacation and felt relaxed at the very thought of not having to check my email every five seconds.
But that could also be because one day prior to the crash, I got some incredibly good news. My newest novel is a semi-finalist in a contest sponsored by Simon Schuster. I'm going to be posting a link in a day or two...it may even be today if my novel is up on their website (they've sent me the link to the "dummy site" for my approval and I've given the okay -- in fact, their artists have even designed an awesome book cover for me already which really freaked me out because it looks like Bono and oh my god, I won't even go there)...and I may be calling on all of you to read the two chapters posted and enter your comments. I still haven't quite figured out how this works because apparently my proposal and synopsis are in the hands of several agents and reps from Simon and Schuster as we speak and whether they will publish my book or not depends on them, not you or me (well, it does depend on me...or my writing, that is) but I think a bunch of positive comments from my readers here, if you are so inclined, would do much to help.
At least in theory.
Okay, I must now go through about a million emails I received while my computer was in the shop (the ones I didn't lose in the crash - Yahoo mail and Gmail, which oddly enough are the free mail services I use...and AOL, which I pay for, is the horrible culprit which ate everything...oh, they are so, so going to hear from me via threats of a canceled account and really, I should end my affiliation with them just on the basis of their fascist Bush supporter owner, anyway) and I will try and get back to everyone who wrote by the end of the weekend.