Sunday, November 27, 2011

Being the Void :)

Ho ho no...

Sorry. I'm not in holiday mood or mode yet - wasn't it just summer? Perhaps some eggnog will help. Eggnog made with Jack Daniels. Don't knock it until you've tried it.

Regarding the title of this post, Be the Void is the name of Dr. Dog's new record, and you will be able to pre-order it this coming Tuesday, November 29, 2011 right here.

I don't have to Be the Void, I am the void, but that's nothing new and I'm proud of it. All kidding aside, this music rocks and I'll have a lot more to say about it later on in this post.

So in case you haven't noticed, I've been taking an indefinite break from social medicine media including Facebook, Twitter, and really, all things internet. Can it be I'm finally bored of too much information -- in some cases, far, far, too much information -- the unending sharing and with that, the inevitable intrusion, etc. etc. blah blah blah. And so I find these days I would rather spend what little free moments I do have curled up on the sofa with the dog and a book or write my latest project on the laptop with the intraweb turned off.

Yeah, that appears to be what's going on. Also, I have to admit it - I'm obsessed with my new novel but it's a series written under a pen name so I can't really talk about it which both does and does not suck. :)

But to my new readers courtesy of Dr. Dog and Julie's huge base of fans internationally, if you've read Eric's latest interview, he does touch on a subject close to my heart:

"So I was reading about your mom and all of her accomplishments as an editor and author, what was it like growing up with that creative influence?

It was awesome. That was actually a relatively new thing. My dad is also a musician. So my dad was inspiring me in the music world and then my mom was also writing, but the Internet really cultivated that for her. Once we got the Internet in the house she was able to join online writer’s groups, very early versions of online writer’s groups. It reignited her love for writing. So because of the Internet my mom started publishing books, which was awesome. Just watching her do that, devoting hours and hours of time to do that was very inspiring. Some of them are erotic novels, which cracks me up

Is that weird for you?

No, it just became a funny thing to talk about at parties with my friends. [They’d be like] “Eric’s mom writes erotic novels.” I’d be like “No she doesn’t! Stop it!” They’d go to my bookshelf and read them. I’d be like “No that’s not them! Come on!” [Laughter.] It still happens to this day. You can definitely print that, because my mom would get a huge kick out of that.

So overall a pretty artistic household growing up.

Oh yeah. You should see my house where I grew up. It was crazy. It was like a Willy Wonka house. I’m not even joking.

Could you lick the walls?

You couldn’t lick the walls, although Frank often jokes that I ate paint chips as a kid, but that didn’t happen. The house was all leopard print and exposed brick. We have this big hand chair in the living room that’s made out of recycled gallons of milk. My parents have a very unique taste in furniture that’s borderline kitchy. We also grew up with like 3,000 vinyl [records] in our living room. My drum set was in the living room. All of my dad’s guitars were in the living room. So we really packed a whole lot into a Philadelphia row home. But people always wanted to come over. It was a funky house. It still is a funky house. I was over there the other day."

So now that you know I write erotic novels, please also rest assured that they are erotic COMEDIES and while, yeah, the sex is graphic, they are filled with laugh out loud (I have been told) scenes throughout. That would be the Three Days in New York City trilogy, with Three Days being the first in the series, Another Bite of the Apple being part II, and Bitten to the Core is Part III. If you would simply like to read my very, very creative non-fiction memoir which does not contain any graphic sex and talks about what it was like to tour with my kiddies, then you would want Daddy Left Me Alone with God. Here's a link to buy my stuff but as usual, I am begging that you make your purchases through your local, independent book stores. While admittedly they might not have all of my books in stock, they will gladly order them for you. If not, they're on Kindle and they're cheap as hell. So like, help a sister out.

Anyway, back to my current dislike of the internet...that being so, I still feel like I should touch base once in a while so I've resurrected the blog today to let you know I'm still alive (and so is the dog, by some miracle) and to play a little catch up.

First of all, Thanksgiving was amazing. It was just the immediate family plus Eric's girlfriend, Nicky, who is in fact the immediate family now so yeah, it was just us, which was wonderful and know, the way holidays should be? Let's start with the menu, which was concocted by both Julie and Eric. First, the appetizers:

Assorted cheeses with Devine family (Nicky's parents) preserved pears and warm walnut honey, pickled vegetables - turnips, brussels sprouts, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and carrots. With the exception of the cheese and pears, all were made by Julie. Amazing. I cannot even describe how good the warm walnut honey was - it had a squeeze of Meyer lemon in it and some rosemary, too, I think. That, and the sweetness of those California pears, was such a nice foil for the cheeses and Julie's tart, pickled vegetables. Iron Chef Jose Garces has nothing on Julie in that department. I say that because Julie and I had pickled vegetables for the first time at one of Jose's restaurants around three years ago and now of course they are the rage everywhere. Just watch an episode of Chopped. Trust me, Julie has managed to trump them all.

The turkey for carnivores Eric, Gary, and Nicky, was organic, free range and courtesy of Julie, cider brined the night before:

While that turkey was stuffed, Julie and I got our own tray without the poultry drippings - it was the same ingredients except totally vegetarian stuffing which was a combination of Challah bread, potato, celery, carrots, herbs, shallots, etc. We had a gravy for it made with fresh vegetable broth, freshly squeezed orange, and rosemary. To die for:

We needed a green so Julie came up with this crazy crispy baked Tuscan kale. I may have finally found a solution to my French fry addiction. That, and the accompanying frizzled leeks.

We also had fresh baked (we stole the recipe from) Devon Grill biscuits, yukon gold mashed potatoes with frizzled leeks and crispy shallots, fresh orange and cranberry sauce.

Here's how it all looked together jammed and crammed on the table...

We somehow made room and I'm so glad we did..for Nicky's home-made apple pie which we warmed and topped with vanilla ice pie being Eric's all-time favorite dessert.

Afterward, a walk was in order and Nicky snapped this photo of Julie and Eric hanging at the old playground where they grew up - except it's all changed now from cool wood and interesting shapes to one of those new plastic modular things. Blech. But I adore the pic and it captures them the same way photos did back when they were 10 and 11 - always joyous.

All in all, a lovely holiday, after which the family, except me (and Julie, who bugged out and went home), went to John and Peter's in New Hope, PA to jam with Chris Harford and the guys from Ween.

So of course there is even more music news. Friday was record store day, and Dr. Dog released a seven inch vinyl with Sides A and B - "Control Yourself" and "Warrior Man". The record comes in all kinds of crazy colors like hot pink and orange, purple, lime green - it's fantastic. Here's a You Tube of "Control Yourself". Eric sounds like Keith Moon...

Dr. Dog has attracted the attention of Tom Waits, who made this awesome comment and drawing on his Facebook page:

"Attention! Meet others! Hands On! Interact! Discuss! Survive! Congregate - at your local record shop."

See? He's got Dr. Dog written in there. Too freaking cool.

Also, the above video is from Dr. Dog's aforesaid Ninja gig at Kung Fu. Eric's dad was there - and he saw the Beatles in 1966. Gary is a skeptic - it's no secret that he wasn't sure Eric made the right career move when he left the Adrian Belew Power Trio to join Dr. Dog, but he came home from the show absolutely blown away. These are his exact words:

"It was like every film clip I've seen of the Beatles playing at the Cavern in 1962. Crowd screaming, jam packed, and the band on fucking fire."

(That's for you kiddies who can't even name all four Beatles but you should all watch it because it's so damn cool)

By the way, Gary actually saw the Beatles live in 1966 at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia - his mother took him - and he still has the ticket stubs ($4.00@). So he knows what he's talking about even without the Cavern video.

Also, there were two awesome reviews of that show, courtesy of the Swollen Fox and Phrequency. Links right here for Swollen Fox (where they say "...Eric Slick on drums. That kid is a beast" and here for Phrequency (where they say "To sum it all up, Dr. Dog's show last night was by far one of the raddest shows of the year.")


And then the next night, Gary went to see Julie play with her new band, Drgn Kng, and the first words out of his mouth when he got home were:

"Holy crap, it was like the Beatles at the Cavern all over again, Rob. They are really good. Really, really good."

So I'm thinking that Julie and Dom and the whole band should head out to LA when Julie hops on a plane in January (more on that later when I have more info myself) because one of Drgn Kng's members, Ritz Reynolds, is already on his way there with the number one hit on Billboard with Mac Miller. I kid you not.

Do me a huge favor, oh cyber people. Please visit Drgn Kng's Facebook page, and like them. The way the world works now, the more "likes" they have, the better chance they can book a tour.

Here's the direct link to hear some more of their music. They are very, very good. Have a listen and pick up a free download here.

And let us not forget about Julie's brilliant record with drummer Carl Bahner. You can have a listen and order it right here. Also, an insanely good You Tube from their record release party two weeks ago:

Also, in case you missed it, Julie did a show in Brooklyn, NY on November 11 - it was a Spinal Tap Tribute which featured a lot of NY heavy hitter musicians. In case you've ever wondered what Julie would look like with facial hair, well, here's your chance.

Ha ha, that was pretty epic. Loved it.

By the way, even though they didn't tell me this, because even though I have given up the internet I still stalk them on Facebook because otherwise, I'd never get any information, but Julie, Eric, and Tim Motzer have a gig next Sunday night at The Tritone at 15th and South in Philadelphia. It's not on their calendar yet, but trust me, they are playing. I'm sure Julie or Tim will tweet and Facebook the event with more details in case I don't bring my sorry ass back here in time.

So anyway, I started this post talking about Dr. Dog's new record, and I think I may end it that way since I just found a pretty nice review. I heard that some advance copies have been sent to a few fine folks and this will be the first of many popping up, I am sure:

No Mistake in Mix Tape

In their most rockin’ album to date, Dr. Dog comes down from the clouds to unfurl their breezy pop from the ground. Infusing bluesy notes on “Lonesome,” and a high-pitched guitar riff on “How Long Must I Wait” that wouldn’t sound out of place on the last Black Keys album, the Philadelphia quintet finds a more distinct groove. The biting phrase “You destroy all that’s good here/at your will/there’s a part of me though that/loves you still,” comes out like venom on “Vampire,” a mid-tempo number where the narrator can’t help but be seduced by the evil monster in question. Much of the album has the same bite, thanks to its percussive jab that feels indebted to Elvis Costello.

Of course, as is always a highlight of Dr. Dog’s music, beautiful harmonies float like feathers atop frontman Scott McMicken’s punctuated vocals. “Do, do, do, trick, tr’ trick,” echoes through “Do the Trick” like doo wop making sweet love to The Beach Boys.

While 2010’s Shame, Shame took Dr. Dog on a more reflective, gloomier journey, Be the Void is the band’s reemergence into its escapist tendencies. The common ground lies in the glossy production, a far cry from early lo-fi recordings. It suits them, especially on “Heavy Light,” a foray into the islandy afro-pop popular with bands like Givers and Friendly Fires.

Seventies psychedelia chimes through the trippy “Warrior Man” and album closer “Turning the Century” (is that a sitar?). “Big Girl” is an epic barnburner that starts with a jagged guitar groove and culminates in the sort of keyboard-heavy climax that makes dreams come true. If these songs translate live, tour dates supporting Be the Void could be the most raucous we’ve seen Dr. Dog yet. It’s gonna be a fun ride.


And in Honest Tune:

Beloved Philadelphia band Dr. Dog are poised to release a staggering burst of vital rock ‘n’ roll with their new record Be The Void. The album hits stores this February 7th via Anti-Records and is the raucous follow up to the group’s critically lauded Shame, Shame.

While the band’s previous records boasted meticulously crafted symphonic pop, this time around the band turns up the guitars and delivers a truly great cathartic rock ‘n’ roll album played with near reckless abandon and passion.

With the addition of new drummer Eric Slick and electronics-percussionist-guitarist Dmitri Manos, the band entered the studio (Meth Beach) with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and confidence, tracking the songs live to perfectly capture the rough and tumble energy of their renowned live show.

“We would just get in the pocket and go with it because it sounded great,” bassist-vocalist Toby Leaman explains. “There wasn’t this endless deliberating. We just went with our gut feelings on things.”

“It was reminiscent of when we were starting out and were these fearless weirdos in a basement, so confident and reckless and bold,” guitarist-vocalist Scott McMicken adds. “It was really liberating.”

The songs on Be The Void flawlessly combine Dr. Dog’s adventuresome and expansive arrangements with a far leaner and meaner primal sound. The beats are harder, the guitars louder and edged with a warm distortion. “Guitars stopped being problematic and started becoming very exciting to us,” McMicken explains.

From the rollicking re-imagined blues of the disc’s title track to the searing guitars of “Vampire,” the frenetic punk urgency of “Over Here Over There” and the beautifully fuzzed out rock of “Warrior Man,” Dr. Dog’s Be The Void is a truly great rock ‘n’ roll record and the unmistakable sound of a band whose moment has arrived.

Be The Void Track Listing:
That Old Black Hole
These Days
How Long Must I Wait
Get Away
Do The Trick
Heavy Light
Big Girl
Over Here, Over There
Warrior Man
Turning The Century


Okay, I am officially wiped out. How I used to do this every day I have no idea but then again, I was blogging instead of novel writing and it really was time to get my priorities back in order. So look for not one but two new books from me soon. Like, really soon. Only you won't know the second book is me. Unless I blab and tell you.

Blab? Who me? Never.

Ooh, ooh, but here's a hint in a recent interview I did for a newspaper in Rhode Island with many thanks to writer/broadcaster/and all around book lover Robin Kall.

Okay, now I'm outta here for real. Books to read, novels to write, dogs to feed, and the final day of a four day weekend to enjoy.