essay Archive

Travel Diary: Sun Studio, Memphis TN

Some people get really, really worked up over Elvis Presley. Their slavish devotion fuels a marketing juggernaut that has yet to abate. It’s not just about the music; in fact one could argue that it’s hardly at all about the music. I’m sure Colonel Tom Parker‘s ghost is fuming somewhere that he can’t get his

Travel Diary: Branson MO (part one)

I recently returned from a musical pilgrimage to Memphis TN and Branson MO. Stay with me: I had a very good reason to visit Branson. No, really. Over the coming days, I’ll report on various parts of the trip. I’ll do so using the patented No Particular Order™ Method. So, with that in mind, here’s

Five Years On, a Re-memorial

Five years ago today we held a memorial concert for my friend and band mate Dave Jones. It was pretty cool: even though the band we were in together had fallen apart in the wake of Dave’s untimely death, we reunited (and our rhythm guitarist learned all Dave’s parts to play the songs one last

A Look Back at “Psychedelic Siren”

Regular readers of this page will know — because I rarely go any amount of time without bringing up the subject — that in the early-to-mid part of the naughties (ca. 2002-2005) I led a little ol’ cover band called The Echoes of Tyme. (Interested parties can read a brief essay outlining that band’s story

Remembering Rena Rent-a-Record

As Record Store Day (April 17) approaches, my thoughts turn to an experience I had when I was a high school senior. I was looking for a summer job to keep me occupied in the months before heading away to college, and I figured such a job would provide some cash for the essentials (records,

Goodbye, Alex

I remember the first time I saw Alex Chilton. I was in college in Atlanta, and I had met this sort-of-weird couple (they were probably “on the drugs”) through, I don’t recall exactly, some sort of common musical interests. I think I probably had a class in common with the guy. Anyway, once they discovered

Words Have Consequences

When a writer’s work gains a certain degree of visibility, an interesting thing sometimes happens. The artists getting reviewed and/or profiled often contact the writer to give feedback. This happens more often than you might expect. Owing to the ease of communication afforded by the intertubes, it’s easy for an artist to find out when

Busy Doin’ Nothing

Well, not really. Not at all. I’m busy with a bunch of interviews, and with giving critical listens/watches to a stack of cool stuff. Each will be detailed and recommended in its turn, and soon. Here’s some of what’s coming in the next few days: Beyond Reality, the latest album (out now) from Dutch progressive

“Avant Garde is French for Bullshit.” — John Lennon

Like anyone who does what  I do, I get sent a lot of music. MP3 files, CDs, and occasionally vinyl.  Sometimes it takes me awhile, but I do listen to all of it. By “all of it” I don’t mean to imply that I play every disc all the way through. Some, I quickly identify

Essay: “My Brilliant Non-career” part 4

On the group’s 2004 full-length album release, Sun Greets the Dawn, I used the Roland RD-300s for piano sounds; the Emu Vintage Keys for Farfisa, Mellotron strings, Vox Continental, Hammond B3 and electric piano sounds; the Roland Alpha-Juno for some additional Farfisa sounds, the Ensoniq Mirage for some more electric piano sounds (I think, anyway);