Well, I have to say that my birthday was a great success. I skipped out of work a little early and went and saw Calexico at Jovita's with Crackbass and Big Johnson. Then we hopped over to Freddie's and had a beer and then went to dinner at Asti's in Hyde Park. The Shaws, Wilsons, Big Johnson, Rami, and Heather Wagner were all there for dinner and we drank lots of wine and ate yummy Italian food. Then we went over to La La's, and I drank way too much and stayed out too late. Andy Sensat joined us out over there. This afternoon D.K. and Marty took me out for lunch at Hoover's. Now I am extremely sleepy and full of chicken friend steak. I just want to thank everyone again for making my birthday so cool. It was one of the best ones I've had in quite a while, and it was pretty unexpected. Gracias, ya'll.
I'm hoping to go and see some free shows tomorrow for SXSW. I went last year on Saturday and had a pretty good time. Of course, I may be doing some musicking of my own over at Reed
Shaw's house if the Mono E does a recording session. Ryan sent me a cow bell for my birthday (don't ask- it's Ryan), so that will undoubtedly be featured prominently in whatever recording sessions which occur. We'll see.
I've been milking this birthday thing all week at the courthouse- getting bonds signed and cases reset by whining to all the judges about how they need to be nice to me on my birthday. Next week it's back to reality, I guess (or whatever passes for reality in the Travis County courthouse).
In other news, I would like to welcome Nhut Tan Tran back into the Steanso family fold. Nhut Tan (affectionately known as Newt by the Steans brothers) was one of my few good friends in law school. We used to drink a fair number of beers together in law school, took turns arguing with my brother (especially regarding movies and comic books) and spent time bitching about how lame lawyers were (as a general group). Newt and I were both disillusioned former philosophy students, and I don't think either of us was really prepared for the kind of naked, money-grubbing ambition exhibited in law school by our classmates. Newt moved up to Dallas to do some kind of intellectual property work or some such nonsense after law school, and he kind of fell off the radar for awhile. He contacted me through an email a day or two ago, though, and it sounds like he's been doing well for himself. Hopefully he'll make a visit down to Austin at some point. Viva la Nhut Tan!
Well, I guess that's it for now. Maybe more later, but I'm awfully tired today, so maybe not.
Ooops. I spoke too soon. Reed has taken the time to answer my music questions, and I think that they need to be posted. I want to thank Reed for answering these because I know it took his obsessive compulsive little mind at least a couple of hours to complete this. Reed has a bit of a hard time narrowing things down when it comes to music, so sadistic little Jason knew that he would struggle with this when I sent it to him (but I also knew he would have fun with it). So here it is- some inside insight into the mind of longtime friend and darn good Mono Ensemble drummer, Reed Shaw:
How many total music files do you have on your 'puter?
On my computer at home I have the following complete Phish shows:
12/01/92 - 23 flac files
05/08/93 - 28 flac files
12/07/97 - 18 flac files
10/07/00 - 16 flac files
12/31/02 - 24 flac files
02/26/03 - 19 flac files
06/17/04 - 21 flac files
06/18/04 - 18 flac files
06/19/04 - 13 flac files
06/20/04 - 15 flac files
06/23/04 - 18 flac files
06/24/04 - 15 flac files
06/25/04 - 18 flac files
06/26/04 - 16 flac files
08/09/04 - 16 flac files
08/10/04 - 16 flac files
08/11/04 - 22 flac files
08/12/04 - 18 flac files
08/13/04 - 5 flac files
08/14/04 - 24 flac files
08/15/04 - 26 flac files
Total - 389 flac files (~ 3.5 Gb)
I also have a custom cd database on my computer at work so my computer cd player will display track and album information (including the release year). I say custom because I don't like the way the track and album information is reported when you download it from the internet. So I usually write individual database files for any cd that I bring into work to listen to. The database currently sits at 1152 files (cds).
What CD did you buy last?
The last CDs I bought were (I would say CD, but I bought multiple cds on my last trip to the record store):
Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (Dual Layer CD/DVD Disc) (2005? Orig Rel: 1959)
Herbie Hancock - Empyrean Isles (1964)
Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (1965)
Willie Nelson - Songs (2004? although it's a compilation covering his entire career)
Ween - 12 Golden Country Greats (1996)
(all of the above albums are awesome, and Kind of Blue is one of the greatest albums ever made in any genre)
What was the last song you listened to before getting this message?
Phish - "Check 1", Coventry Sound Check, Coventry, VT 08/13/04
Phish's 36 minute improv/jam sound check opener from their last festival on their last tour. I, along with Crackbass, Sig, Pea, and others had the opportunity to attend these final shows. Incredible stuff. I'm really going to miss those guys. I've never heard a better live band, or a tighter live band. I've never had more fun at shows than at the Phish shows. The chemistry that those four had was amazing. They will be sorely missed, but at least there's another 1000+ shows that I still haven't heard. Going to Phish shows was a unique, unforgettable experience. Almost a religious experience (for many that attended it was). The energy, and vibe at their shows was unmatched. The parking lots at these shows would fill up hours and hours in advance of the show. Almost like tailgating with die-hard college or nfl football fans. It was like a traveling carnival (similar to Dead shows, but still different).
List 5 songs that mean a lot to you
I tried and tried, but I couldn't reduce it to 5. I had to have 6. And yes, you're right Jas. It took me several hours to answer all of these questions.
1) "However Much I Booze" by The Who. The most underrated Who song on the most underrated Who album: The Who By Numbers (1975). Probably their darkest album, and the last great drum tracks from Keith Moon. Their follow-up album "Who Are You" (1978) is also a very good album, but by this point in time, Moon was becoming increasingly unreliable in the studio (fortunately they were able to get some tracks down). The music on this song is incredible and unique in The Who catalogue, and as I get older, the lyrics mean more and more to me. I had to include one Who song on this list since Keith Moon was the reason I got into drums in the first place. If I had never discovered the Who in high school who knows if I would ever picked up a pair of sticks. For that I will always be indebted to Moon and The Who. Plus getting into the Who got me off of listening to Van Halen almost 24/7 (as both Jas and Ryan would attest). The Who was the start of my musical mind opening... RIP John and Keith.
2) "Black Comedy" by Miles Davis. Only a drummer could write this song. It's off of Miles' 1968 "Miles In The Sky" album (this album as well as "In A Silent Way" were the precursors to Miles' invention of fusion with the 1969 Bitches' Brew album). Tony Williams, one of the most incredible jazz drummers in history wrote this song. I say that only a drummer could write it because it has a complex melody that changes time signatures. The form is four measures of 6 against 4, two measures of 4/4, one measure of 5/4, three measures of 4/4, four measures of 6 against 4, a measure of 5/4, and a measure of 6/4. Hearing Miles' second great quintet play this so effortlessly is mind boggling to me. Herbie Hancock, Miles, and Wayne Shorter solo off of this complex melody with ease. RIP Tony. It was a shame to see him go with a heart attack in 1997 at age 51 after routine gall bladder surgery. To get a sense of Tony Williams greatness, I thought I would mention that Miles first hired him in 1963 when he was just 17 years old!
3) "Frame By Frame" by King Crimson. I think this is the quintessential song of the 80s King Crimson (and even the current King Crimson). I know "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is more well known, but this song has it all. The second track off of argueably the greatest King Crimson album: Discipline (1981). Great music changes, interesting time singatures, guitar technics that make your head spin, the Chapman stick, and four bad ass, well respected, session players showing why they are in constant demand. Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford. Nothing else needs to be said.
4) "The Maker" by Daniel Lanois. A very powerful song that I can relate to. This song makes me want to cry. It's been covered by Phish, Willie and Emmylou as well as Bono. Willie's version on his 1998 Teatro album (produced by Lanois) is one of my favorites (and a great album). I've actually never heard the Phish version, but I bet Sigmund or Crackbass has.
5) "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" by Bob Dylan. I never got Bob Dylan or the hoopla around him until one day during my freshman year in college ('91), I was riding in the back of Eric's old Blazer (Frank or Jim was riding shotgun) turning off of Texas Ave onto the road that leads straight to the old Systems Administration building on A&M's campus when this song started playing off of Bob Dylan's masterpiece: "Bringing It All Back Home" (1965). I was totally blown away after hearing the song. I suddenly realized why people hail and regard him as a genius (I'm now one of those people). This song is still relevent today, and will probably always be.
6) "Africa (alternate take)" by the John Coltrane Quartet. This is off of the 1961 Complete Africa Brass Sessions (disc 2). There are three versions of this song on the two cd set: a first version, the released version, and an alternate take. The reason this song means so much to me is because it was the first time I heard Elvin Jones drum solo. A 3+ minute drum solo. A brilliant drum solo. One of the greatest drum solos I have ever heard. If I were the producer this would have been the released take. Don't get me wrong, the other two drum solos are incredible too, but this one really had the magic flowing. The song itself emphasizes the amazing chemistry that McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), Elvin, and Trane had. Hearing songs like this is why it's hard for me to focus on any instrument other than the drumset. Elvin Jones always reminds me of the old, wise, Medicine Man or Shamen of the drums. His understanding of polyrhythms, and his approach to the drum set was amazing. Unfortunately, Elvin died last year at age 76, but he played gigs up until a month before his death. RIP Elvin.
Who would you want to see answer these same questions and why? (3 people)
Sigmund Bloom - because he loves music and sports (two of my favorite loves), and has a vast knowledge and wide taste in music. I've only gotten to talk to Sigmund a handful of times on music and sports, but each time I've enjoyed our conversations. Sig has seen more Phish shows than anyone I ever met.
Jeff Wilson (Crackbass) - another person with an immense knowledge and love of music. Jeff's especially on top of the latest trends, and what the kids are listening to. If cool teens are into a band, Jeff probably knows about the band. I probably have a wider taste in music than Jeff, but he certainly is plugged more into the latest music scene than I am. Another one of my Phish mentors (50 shows), and another person I will always be indebted to for helping with the logistics and planning on the trip up to Massachusetts and Vermont to see Phish's final shows.
Stephanie Gottula - Eric's wife. I know she loves music, but since she's married to Eric, I've never been able to figure out what her favorite artists/albums are, and what she listens to when Eric's not around (Eric and I tend to hog the music selections from our wives at our respective homes). She likes a lot of the stuff that Eric likes (Dylan, Stones, Ween, Phish, Adrian Belew, etc), but some more so than others. I've never been able to figure it out. I've got a better idea of her movie tastes than music tastes.