Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I'm playing tonight at Big FIsh Pub on Universtiy from 7-7:45. A different act each hour until 1 a.m.! I"m first! PLEEEEASE come out!

I need to post a decent-sized post about something but I don't have the time today, so look for something later this week...


Friday, March 20, 2009


As you have probably figured out by now, I really like music. No, I LOVE music. And the weirder it is, the bigger a place in my heart there is for it.

Which is why I feel compelled to share with you a blog that I have just recently discovered: IllFolks.


This fine blogger finds, uploads and shares with you the stranger, more bizarre and often pointless recordings that exist in this world, and it is truly fascinating.

I advise you go there next. Where else are you going to hear (and even download -- I just downloaded an entire folder with almost 20 songs about bananas!) "Wooly Bully" and "Georgy GIrl" sung in German? Or a totally pointless cover, sung in FRENCH, of "You Know My Name, Look Up The Number," originally by the Beatles? If you thought it was bad in English, wait till you hear it in FRENCH!

Oh, and speaking of Beatles, did you know that John Lennon's dad, Freddie, recorded a single? I didn't either until I found it here. And if you ever wondered what became of Groucho Marx's youngest daughter, Melinda, you'll figure out pretty quick that she DIDN'T become a singing star.

I have just begun to plumb the depths of this site and have miles to go before I sleep. Check it out...


Tonight: Bhakti Gardens! 321 N. 12th Street! FREE! 7:30! I'm the musical entertainment! There will also be dance groups and art and other musicians, I hope!

Tomorrow! The Glendale Folk Festival! YAAAAY! I'll be at the Fiddler's Dream booth when I'm not playing somewhere, as described on the schedule!


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Don't ski.

At least don't ski without a helmet.


If there's anyone in your family who has yet to see 'This is Spinal Tap," remedy that. I realized the other day that Brendan hadn't seen it yet. He thought he was gonna wet himself.


Make plans to see me play this weekend! Tomorrow night I will be at a place called Bhakti Gardens, 321 N. 12th St. It's a private residence with a back yard performance space and...well, here's the poster:

Then on Saturday I will be at the Glendale Folk Traditions Festival! Here's the logo!

Ah, but where IS it?

Glendale Heritage Park -- the Park with all the peacocks and stuff. 59th Avenue between Peoria and Olive. Just north of GCC.
I am there Saturday: Songwriter's Circle at "Gilligan's Island" (whatever that means) at 2, and a concert at 3:30 on the Front Porch Stage. It's FREE! Show up!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


Mason Williams once asked: Where does all the rubber go from all of the tires that wear down on the roads of this country?

Which gets me wondering:

How does a dog explain the concept of glass to himself?

When Matthew Brady wanted his picture taken, who did HE go to?

What, do you imagine, is the oldest piece of top secret information still being held by the government? (For example, is there a photograph of Chester Arthur having sex with a kangaroo, that we're just never going to see?)

If there IS an island with Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and others of their ilk on it, who's taking care of these old farts?

If Mark Chapman is EVER let out of prison, how many seconds will it be before some deranged Beatle fan shoots him?

If there's ever a gay pope, will the world explode?

Does Jesus REALLY give a good goddamn about who wins the football game?

Is it just me, or have the early days of the Obama administration pointed to a day, four years from now, when we look back, good or bad, and say, damn...all that guy does is work!


My friend and sometimes musical accomplice Nancy Freeman went on vacation yesterday. To Nepal.

No she's not climbing Everest, though I don't doubt that she could.

Nancy is one of those people who has grasped middle age by the throat and is shaking it vigorously. She has a very high-paying and well-deserved job at a company here in town. At night, she goes to an ungodly amount of exercise sessions, so she has the stamina of a 20-year-old. She hikes. She scuba dives. She has season tickets to highbrow things like the opera, the ballet and god knows what all.

She's been at the same job a long time, which means she has a lot of vacation time. And most of all, Nancy is a confirmed female version of Henry Higgins. Some people are just happier being on their own and I think she fits that mold very well.

She's also a bit eccentric, so when Nancy goes on vacation, she doesn't go where you and I would go. She picks far off destinations like Fiji, New Zealand, Iceland (there really is blue ice. I've seen her pictures), Mongolia (she is the only person I know who can say she's played cards with Mongolian shepherds), and places like that.

Oh, and she's not a "Get on the bus, and look out the window" type tourist. She takes "advenure vacations." These are vacations for people who really want to get in there and DO something; like play cards with the Mongols. I believe this trip to Nepal includes doing something like teaching English at a school for a few hours. While standing on one foot. Or something.

Anyway, I'm glad she's my friend because sometimes you just gotta live vicariously through someone who's actually crazy enough to do these things and not revert to doing "normal" touristy things, like this video:

(By the way, Nancy was in England last month -- lots of vacation time this year, I guess -- and the unforeseen snowstorm that rocked the island put the kibosh on her intended plans -- bicycling around the stonehenges of England. See? Not normal. But in a good way.)

Love you, Nan. Bring back lots of cool pictures!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Interesting article from the Associated Press:

"More Americans say they have no religion
Study finds percentage of Christians in the nation has declined

Mon., March. 9, 2009
A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman
Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest,
the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say
they have no religion at all.
Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from
14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American
Religious Identification Survey.
Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious
region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no
religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of
Americans with no religion rose in every state.
"No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state," the study's
authors said.
Catholics on the decline in Northeast
In the Northeast, self-identified Catholics made up 36 percent of adults
last year, down from 43 percent in 1990. At the same time, however,
Catholics grew to about one-third of the adult population in California and
Texas, and one-quarter of Floridians, largely due to Latino immigration,
according to the research.
Nationally, Catholics remain the largest religious group, with 57 million
people saying they belong to the church. The tradition gained 11 million
followers since 1990, but its share of the population fell by about a
percentage point to 25 percent.
Christians who aren't Catholic also are a declining segment of the country.
In 2008, Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults, compared to about
77 percent in 2001 and about 86 percent in 1990. Researchers said the
dwindling ranks of mainline Protestants, including Methodists, Lutherans and
Episcopalians, largely explains the shift. Over the last seven years,
mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17 percent to 12.9 percent of
the population.
The report from The Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford,
Conn., surveyed 54,461 adults in English or Spanish from February through
November of last year. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.5
percentage points. The findings are part of a series of studies on American
religion by the program that will later look more closely at reasons behind
the trends.
Organized religion playing less of a role
The current survey, being released Monday, found traditional organized
religion playing less of a role in many lives. Thirty percent of married
couples did not have a religious wedding ceremony and 27 percent of
respondents said they did not want a religious funeral.
About 12 percent of Americans believe in a higher power but not the personal
God at the core of monotheistic faiths. And, since 1990, a slightly greater
share of respondents — 1.2 percent — said they were part of new religious
movements, including Scientology, Wicca and Santeria.
The study also found signs of a growing influence of churches that either
don't belong to a denomination or play down their membership in a religious
Respondents who called themselves "non-denominational Christian" grew from
0.1 percent in 1990 to 3.5 percent last year. Congregations that most often
use the term are megachurches considered "seeker sensitive." They use rock
style music and less structured prayer to attract people who don't usually
attend church. Researchers also found a small increase in those who prefer
being called evangelical or born-again, rather than claim membership in a
Evangelical or born-again Americans make up 34 percent of all American
adults and 45 percent of all Christians and Catholics, the study found.
Researchers found that 18 percent of Catholics consider themselves
born-again or evangelical, and nearly 39 percent of mainline Protestants
prefer those labels. Many mainline Protestant groups are riven by conflict
over how they should interpret what the Bible says about gay relationships,
salvation and other issues.
Pentecostals stay steady
The percentage of Pentecostals remained mostly steady since 1990 at 3.5
percent, a surprising finding considering the dramatic spread of the
tradition worldwide. Pentecostals are known for a spirited form of
Christianity that includes speaking in tongues and a belief in modern-day
Mormon numbers also held steady over the period at 1.4 percent of the
population, while the number of Jews who described themselves as religiously
observant continued to drop, from 1.8 percent in 1990 to 1.2 percent, or 2.7
million people, last year. Researchers plan a broader survey on people who
consider themselves culturally Jewish but aren't religious.
The study found that the percentage of Americans who identified themselves
as Muslim grew to 0.6 percent of the population, while growth in Eastern
religions such as Buddhism slightly slowed."


This doesn't surprise me. Gee, you mean maybe we're here all by ourselves? We're supposed to figure this shit out on our own?


Monday night, my sons and their bass playing friend Ian hit up the second open mic of their lives with their band, Thunderstump, and literally rocked the joint. Not bad considering it was a country bar and grill called the Buffalo Chip Saloon. Afterwards they met a woman who promised to send them info on open mics that make more sense for a punk group.


My gigs this weekend:

Friday: Mama Java's, 36th St. and Indian School, 8 p.m.

Saturday: Poor Reds, New River, 1-3 p.m.

SHOW UP! That's an order!


Thursday, March 05, 2009


If you live long enough, you will find that you, and everybody you know, is a geek about something. If you've ever read this blog before -- and I presume you have, you know that I get absolutely, blatantly geekish over two things: Presidential Trivia and Traditional American Music forms -- folk, blues, bluegrass, etc.

I'm a SUPER geek as far as presidents go. My friend Pete once told me at a party that in a room full of sci-fi geeks, which we were, people who were wearing Star Wars t-shirts 30 years after the fact, I was still the biggest dork on the planet because I was wearing a "James Madison's Montpelier" T-shirt. (I didn't mention that I actually have two of those.)

As for folk music I am guilty as charged. You've seen my act. I am the only person in my entire family who gets as giddy as a schoolgirl when I am confronted by a folk festival. I LOVE music festivals. My family HATES them. My dog HATES them. My birds and my iguana, if taken, to folk festivals, would POOP on them.

Now, on the other side of this coin is my wife. Over the past seven or eight years Janice has become a complete Harry Potter geek. She is really geeky about this. If she and JK Rowling were playing "Harry Potter Jeopardy," Jan would probably win.
She (and I, because hey, I'm her ride and I liked the books) belongs to a local Harry Potter fan club and that's okay because the people are nice and the parties are fun and the food people bring to the parties are always really really good.

The club has a party about once every season, usually on the solstice/equinox points (no real HP connection there other than it's just easy to remember). This spring, the party is going to be at our house.

And for the very first time, my geekiness is coinciding with her geekiness head-on. The very same day that I will be playing at the Glendale Folk Traditions Festival, March 21, that evening we will be playing host to Jan's Harry Potter meetup group.

Geek syrup.

But wait...it gets geekier. The HP party is going to have a special guest geek!

Steve Vander Ark is the Harry Potter Geek's Geek. How Geeky? He runs the online HP Lexicon, which he recently turned into an unauthorized book, available at bookstores everywhere. He's currently on a signer's tour which will bring him to Phoenix on the same weekend as our HP party. So he's coming by.

Steve is such a HP geek that JK ROWLING used his site to check things when she was writing the books. He knows more about her stuff than she does. If he were the third contestant in the aforementioned Jeopardy game, he could probably easlily answer "JK Rowling's Bathing Suit Colors for $1,000, Alex."

This is geekdom with a hat on.

I know this sounds like "When Geek Worlds Collide" but I suppose it could be worse; like evolutionists sharing convention space with creationists.

Anyway, if you feel a strange amount of geek energy in the air on 3/21, it's all our fault.
Just thought you should know.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


A follow-up to a story I poked fun at last year.

It's sad, but come on. The guy was traded for BATS!


I guess the worst thing about it is that he died six months ago and they're just now reporting it.

How would that make you feel:

"Tom Tuerff, inventor of the freewheeling power monkey and the greased Panama snorting extortionator, died some time ago. He was...up there in age. He is survived by somebody, but we lost the paper with the names on it. Interment occured, we're pretty sure, because we haven't seen him around lately. Donations may be...naaaah, just keep it."


No gigs this week but the it starts to get thick and heavy with a rich creamy sauce again next week. We'll talk then.


Thanks to my pal Chris Tenaglia in Milwaukee for filling in three more identities to my blog post from last April about my 1973 trip to Washington D.C. I have been updating that post as I get missing names -- just two more to go.

That was a fun trip. I remember the last day of it was a Sunday, and we were literally on the road ALL day seeing stuff and took off for home way after dark. Rode all the way to Gettysburg that day (which I guess is not really that far from DC) and back. A planned trip that kept us going from sun up to sundown.

(If you want to see what I looked like 35 years ago, head for my 4/30/08 blog entry. Click the pic and it gets big.)

If you're a friend of Joe "Santa" McKiernan, he's turning 60 this Saturday and they're throwing a bash for him at Plaza de Anaya, on Broadway east of Mill at 7 p.m. Lots of dancing girls and I'm going to barge my way into some performance time to play him a song or two. Come on out if you know who I'm talking about!


Monday, March 02, 2009


If you live here in town and you didn't come out to see Romantasy Cabaret last Saturday night, boy are you sorry. Trust me. Easily the most fun show we've put on yet. This year's shows have a 1920s theme and everybody did their best to make it look that way. Flappers. Classy burlesque strippers. Old songs from me and the AMAZING Jimmy Pines and Bunny. A live action silent movie! And my son, the good sport! That's all I'll say about that...


I will say one other thing about the show, and I am repeating something my wife said: When God or whoever was sitting around working on the model for what a woman should look like, it looked exactly like the woman in our show who uses the name "The High Pimpstress." Simple perfection from the top down. Grrrrrrrrr. Suffice to say Brazil knows how to make females.


I had a very good job interview today. Which figures since I live in north Phoenix and the job is in east Bumfuck. I've been answering every marketing ad for a position at PetSmart, which is walking distance from my house and they don't even send out a "thanks but no thanks" letter.


My Zappa Universe show yesterday featured a not-heard-since-it-aired 1974 interview with FZ himself. My e-mail hasn't stopped since the show ended. YES!


Now for a good rant:

Who determined that gossip magazines and gossip TV had any right to try someone before the justice system?

I'm getting pretty tired of gossip rags and assholes like Nancy Grace putting suspects on trial long before they ever go to court.

Case(s) in point: Whenever a mom is suspected of killing their kid -- especially if it's a cute little girl, the rags accuse, try and convict the most likely suspect long before the actual trial takes place.

Whatever happened to innocent before proven guilty? I don't care if somebody goes on live television and chops up their entire family. In this country, until they've gone to court and a jury has said, "that's you on the tape, lady" that person should not be judged outside of the courtroom. Even Jack Ruby pleaded innocent.

I find it sick that the tabs make "dead celebrities" out of these kids. It's disgusting. And trying their suspect parents outside of a courtroom is even worse. It is NEVER right. All of you just stop it.


Strangely enough I do not have a gig this week. This will change in a week.


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