Archive for January, 2013

Precogs Of The World Unite

January 31, 2013

I just recorded my own version of Thin Lizzy – Wild One. Give it a listen.

My voice goes pretty deep when I first wake up in the morning. There’s no way I could hit some of those lower notes later in the day.

I’ll be performing a piano/vocal set in the front room of the Garrison sometime between 9pm and 10pm on Saturday February 9th, followed by me playing vinyl records until 2:30am. No requests, no cover.

Much like my NYE party, I’ll be doing the piano thing EARLY because it’s not exactly party-party music, but everyone is welcome to sing along. It’s supposed to be “good” and “fun” and while I’m not taking myself tooooo seriously, it is NOT intended to be ironic in any way. It just is what it is; what you see and hear is what you get.

the Hermetic Order of 159 Manning

January 30, 2013


It’s only 6:30am, but I can’t sleep anymore so it’s time to start my day. I kinda wish I had a rant I could launch into, something I’ve been waiting to get off my chest for awhile now, buuut nope. I’ve already let it all out, the good and the bad, and let me tell you; that’s a great feeling!

I’ve been slowly getting my recording studio in the basement of 159 Manning up and running again. No, I don’t want to record your shitty band. It’s a private studio. Don’t ask me, I’ll ask you. I’m considering adding “Hermit” to my title, so that I’d now be the Emperor-Wizard-Hermit-Pope of 159 Manning Temple Lodge of the Unholy Crimson Ghost.

I arranged with Pete Carmichael to have his band the Whirly Birds come in last Thursday for a practice so I could line-check everything, test the EQ’s and levels, etc. Really nice pleasant guys, and they’re a really good band too! What a rare combo.

Jay Share-it AKA Jay Spectre came in to assist that day. We’ve been having 2 or 3 Fill Spectre practices per week for the past few weeks and it’s been going great! The practices have been fun and productive, as opposed to being infuriating and unproductive. NICE! We’ll be playing our first show as a 4-piece at Parts & Labour on Sunday February 17th.

I’ve been hiring Natasha to come in for a few hours on Mondays the past 3 weeks. So far she’s organized my magazine archives, my CD collection, and untangled a giant mess of audio cables and power supplies that would’ve cost me every last shred of my sanity to do myself. Worth every dollar.

I’ve been using the empty upstairs bedroom as a workshop.

Robbie Lackritz hired me to build a custom desk for his studio, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!

The gear it was designed for fits perfectly. Whew!

I finally got my office re-organized this week. It’s been too cluttered for me to use the past couple of months, so it’s nice to have my desk cleared again.

This is my view into the backyard. Very calming.

We sang Human League – Don’t You Want Me, and Soft Cell – Tainted Love at Choir!Choir!Choir! last night.

I believe next week will be C!C!C!’s 2 year anniversary! It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve ever been involved with.

Contemplating Productivity

January 20, 2013

It’s that time of growth where my beard takes over and everyone I talk to says “Holy shit, your BEARD!” and it reminds me why I have to shave it off every once in awhile: I get tired of talking about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the admiration and attention, but I AM MORE THAN JUST A BEARD! I am MORE than a thrower of great house parties!

Sometimes I build things with power-tools (I used a biscuit joiner for the first time today), and sometimes I’m a crowbar-wielding demolition man! I’m also an aspiring ballerina and I’d like to read you a few of my favorite poems about my herb garden. I do suppose it all fits under the umbrella of being the Emperor-Wizard of 159 Manning. It’s the path, the life, the luxury, the struggle and the responsibility of being an Emperor-Wizard that I’ve chosen. Because of that, I have to spend a certain amount of time talking about the beard. I understand, and can accept that. What’s a Wizard without his beard?

Just kidding about the herb garden BTW. I’ve never grown anything in my life! Speaking of da herb, I can’t get enough of this album. Last month Ewan Exall told me he might be bringing Sleep to Toronto for the first time ever this May. If that happens, I would like to attend that show!

Topic to contemplate: the long-term and short-term merits and pitfalls of speed vs weed vs sobriety in relation to ideas, creativity and productivity. A topic for ME to contemplate…

Not Good To Be Bad

January 18, 2013

Check out this old Wu-Tang flyer from the 90’s that Taraleigh showed me. It’s got 1-900 numbers that you could call to talk to individual members of the Wu-Tang Clan!! They were probably just pre-recorded messages, but I’d like to pretend that you could just call and talk to them. Don’t make any mistakes! Get the real, not fakes!

I’ve been re-watching old episodes of the Twilight Zone this week. Mostly Season 2. Sometimes I feel like a permanent resident there. I tried watching Breaking Bad a month ago (to impress a girl), but it was giving me too much anxiety by the time I got to the third episode.

Here’s the last song we did at the Fill Spectre practice today “Not Good To Be Bad”. The fog machine is essential, even at practice. Valerie Massie shot this on my 5D.

Click here to listen to a studio recording of “Not Good To Be Bad”.

This will be a good show. There are 7 bands playing, and there will be 7 girls (and 400 boys) in the audience that evening.

Pits will be moshed, arms will be windmilled, change will be picked up.

Trill Spectre

January 18, 2013

Jay, Robyn and I had a Fill Spectre band practice in the basement of 159 Manning on Monday. I guess I’m in the band? I’m playing bass. I’ve been playing bass for many years, I’ve got the gear and a practice space, they’ve got the songs, we all get along… It’s easy peasy. Plug and play. After 3 practices (the first was just Jay and I) under my belt in the past week, I just need 2 or 3 more practices, and I’ll be playing the songs flawlessly! Vassil is coming over to play drums with us tomorrow. BOOM we could be playing shows next week. We’ll be there.

The fog machine is essential, even at practice.

Tuesday was Choir! Choir! Choir! practice! We sang Alanis Morissette and Cheryl Crow songs. We sounded like this:

Met up for Wednesday (yesterday) brunch with Kate Carraway at Aunties and Uncles to catch up + I sold her 6 back issues of Sassy magazine. You might call me a “cool shit” dealer. I got lines on so much cool shit, I can’t even hoard it all to myself anymore. I don’t have the room to store it, or the time to be a fan and consume it! I gotta spread it around, for other people to be fans of and consume things. Wednesday evening was Shape Note Singing at Bloor Street United. We had a short Fill Spectre practice this evening. Now I’m at P&L for Neighborhood Watch. Tomorrow (Friday) I’ll be delivering magazines during the day, having another Fill Spectre practice, then setting up DJ’s at P&L, then heading to the Great Hall for Loving In The Name Of.

And so it was and so it will be, just as I have described it.

Little Girl In Bloom

January 7, 2013

Holidays are over. Time to get up at a reasonable time, answer emails promptly, and get lots of work done everyday! Hooray!!!

I’m enjoying this song, Thin Lizzy’s “Little Girl In Bloom” today. I downloaded the entire Thin Lizzy discography a couple of months ago and have been slowly working my way through it. I’ve been playing some of the full albums like “Fighting” and “Johnny The Fox” at parties and at Parts & Labour between bands since the big download. It’s interesting to see who gets excited about hearing them, and when they ask what other Thin Lizzy albums I have or know. When a person says they like Thin Lizzy, it means they like good quality rock music. It means they give a “flying fuck”, as opposed to being too-cool-too-care. Whatever, “too-cool-to-care” is usually just a side effect of opiates and pain killers: LAME. Or it could be mental illness or breakdown, or physical-illness, or some kind of life-trauma, like the break-up of marriage or partnership, loss of job, death of a loved one, abusive relationships, victim of crime or fire etc… which are all much more complicated long-term issues. Or some other life change like a promotion, having a child, buying a home, getting married…the list goes on and on! Any major change in life is a crisis, even if that change is something you want and have worked towards for a long time. It’s actually sort of ridiculous and clownish to care about music this much…but music is SUPPOSED to be entertaining and exaggerated and hyper-real isn’t it? At any rate, if you want your life to mean something, you’ve got to be prepared to suffer sometimes, rather than developing the ability to hurt and punish other people without feeling it. Let’s maintain the ability to feel things! That’s what I have to say about that, and you can quote me on it! It’s an official statement! Fuck me, right?

IMO, the best bands I’ve been in so far, were the 1-off side-projects like Children in Heat or Feral Cell or the 159 Manning Orchestra, but to be fair; the only reason I could play in those 1-off bands was from either listening to the songs 10,000,000,000,000 times and/or from playing in bands I jammed with on weekly basis at minimum. Choir!Choir!Choir! is great and a source of much joy, but it doesn’t really count as a “band”. I hope to keep participating in many more “1-off” projects and collaborations; those are my creative bread-and-butter, but I also hope it’s not too late for me to play in a really fucking good band, and to be part of an amazing album or few. A band that’s not just put together for 1 or 2 shows, a band where the other members aren’t selfish mean-spirited self-destructive self-sabotaging complete asshole losers. A band that actually cares about music, or “the music”, whatever the fuck that means. The absence of the negative aspects is just as important as the presence of the positive aspects. I don’t think it’s too late. I think it could still happen…