Busking in Ballard

Today we went to the Ballard Market to do a little street performancin’. A gas, that was. The rain stayed pretty much away and we played for as long as my voice held out. I think my lymph nodes are swollen. Do these look swollen to you guys? [picture removed by administrator]

Anyway, we in HAD love the Busk. We just strip everything down to the minimum. Marty and I have our flat-tops and capos, MC has his acoustic bass, Paul carries his mandolin, a flute, a saw and the one clamp-on tuner we all pass around. We all have built-in vocal cords.

It’s Dusty, however, who has the real thing going on. Just a hi hat, snare, a small crash cymbal and various little clinks and clunks. He carries some of this in a beige suitcase, which he uses for the kick drum. He plays the whole thing with brushes. It sounds perfect and looks perfect. In fact, today Dusty proudly displayed the initials “HAD” on the front of the suitcase, carefully applied using strips of electrical tape, giving the letters this Irony Maiden aura. He said he was up all night doing this, but MC and I didn’t believe him.

We’re thinking about taking this busking thing up a notch. With basically a full acoustic band going, if you want anyone to hear you, you gotta sing really loud. Since none of us is a particularly loud singer, but we kind of like the idea of remaining truly unplugged, we’re thinking some kind megaphone-based vocal amplification system. We’ve been talking this over, and the image forming in my head is ridiculously awesome. Like Dr. Seuss meets Dr. Who.

So we played all the HAD tunes we could pull from our heads (we forgot the list in the car, wouldn’t you know it). Amazingly, we collectively remembered everything in our current live rotation. Everything, that is, except for our old paranoia anthem “Alias,” which we always forget for some reason – probably some kind of memory-erasing experiment by the CIA.

Still, it turned out real good, all in all. CDs went away, people were kind and generous and we made a whole bunch of super cool new friends.

Typical of us, we didn’t take a single picture. But there was a generous fellow with really expensive-looking camera taking some snaps… I didn’t catch his name, but if you’re out there, my friend, and you’d care to share some of those shots with us, please let us know!

Show Recap – Bombs Away Cafe in Corvallis, OR

Things didn’t look good when we rolled up to the venue last night. For starters, looks like Bombs Away is in the middle of a major rebranding. As a result, the cool, edgy look of their website was belied by signage that looks like it was conceived in the coke-fueled throes of 1984. But hey, baby steps. The tagline on the sign said “A Funky Tacqueria.” We all agreed that Bombs Away is not the best name for a cafe serving this type of cuisine, though it’s worth pointing out that the food was sublime, and even with my rather sensitive digestive system, there was no call to arm the emergency torpedoes. I’m sure you’re all relieved. Would’ve added a level of morbid interest to the show, though.

Sign in CorvallisQuick tangent: signage in general in Corvallis is lacking. I’m not sure how you miss a typo like the one on the left, but this one must’ve been made around quitting time, what with that inexplicable capital “O” in “COrvallis.”

Because as a teenager I was convicted of stealing a much smaller green street-corner sign (a great embarrassing story I should tell you sometime), I have an estimated figure in mind as to the cost of a sign like this. Suffice to say it’s enough for the city to decide that remaking the sign would be an unpopular burden on taxpayers.

"SORRY" signBut I digress. Actually, I’m not quite done digressing.This was the prominent welcome on the door of the place next door to Bombs Away. I think if you’re going to establish a business relationship with foot traffic, you should always start the conversation with an all-caps, meticulously applied and permanent apology. Clearly they have no intention of accepting cards in the near future. And they’re probably not really sorry. Then again, Corvallis is a college town. I guess I might not accept their cards, either.

Oddly enough, the apologetic welcome was repeated when we arrived at the venue. The absent owner, who booked us the show and currently resides in New Mexico, sent his apologies for booking us on a night that was ostensibly doomed from the start. It didn’t sound good: a lot of kids skipped town that day to go home and see Mom, and the venue had had a huge blowout the night before, historically a harbinger of a slow night after. All this and the fact that Corvallis had no idea who we are, save for a few months in rotation on the college station – at least a year ago.

So there it was… We were to be the proverbial tree falling in the forest for the evening. When we started the first set, the room was peopled only with the staff and the band. But hey, HAD are pros, man. We came to do a job and had an agreed-upon guarantee to earn. We launched it like we were playing for a roomful of adoring fans.

Amazingly, it paid off… or something did. We slowly gained a respectable audience throughout the evening until the dance floor was jumpin’, everyone jitterbuggin’ like the dickens (isn’t that how the kids say it nowadays?), and all of us having a damn good time. All in all, a successful gig when we least expected it.

Unfortunately, by the time we got back to the KOA, designated kampfire time had expired, seriously crippling our man-bonding for the evening. After a well-earned, lentern-lit beer, we turned in.

Now, our whirlwind 30-hour tour over, we’re back home where the babies are cryin’, and that’s just fine.

Kampout

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We made it to the Albany, OR KOA. We’re really roughing it here, in a site way in the back, with no power and much greater susceptibility to werewolf attacks than those RVs over there. Kandy Kampers.

On the way here, we stopped a a Dairy Queen in Canby at my behest, citing my now two days gone birthday as the impetus for going about six miles put of the way. I have no regrets. The dairy queen was very good.

So yeah! Gonna kill a few hours here, then off to Bombs Away to kill it there. :D

Busted in Portland!

20120512-143500.jpgWe are officially one of those unsavory traveling musician troupes who come Rollin into town only to get rolled out by the authorities. Park rangers came and shut us down, issuing a written warning about conducting business on park grounds. We were prepared for that. Because its Portland.

On to Corvallis!

Road Trippin’!

Tomorrow AM we hit it for Corvallis, OR! Playing a two-hour set at Bombs Away Cafe on Saturday night. We hear tell this is a great venue. Looking forward to some seriously unstoppable juggernautin’!

The weather is supposed to be B-U-T-full! We’re stopping off in Portland to busk at the market. That’s where the real dough is. When the weather is good we move tons more CDs and get more bread than we ever see at a club show, where people tend to blow all their cash on booze, hookers and/or French fries.

After the show we’re retiring to our KOA digs a few miles away. Kamping is kool. We cook meat and swap stories and play music ’round the fire and toast marshmallows and cry together. We synchronize our manstrual periods and thus strengthen the bonds that bind us lo these many years.

I’m bringing a camera and I’m bloody well gonna use it. We’ll document our Van Adventure as it happens, at least as much as internet access will allow.

Till then!

RIP, MCA

I’m dismayed. As you may have heard, Adam Yauch of the Beasties is no longer with us. The world has lost a massive talent far too soon.

This was a hell of a guy. By all accounts, he was a kind, gentle spirit – a practicing Buddhist who devoted himself to helping others. He was an amazing songwriter, MC, director, philanthropist, producer and father – a truly exceptional human being who will be sorely missed.

Goodbye, Nathanial Hörnblowér. See you when you come back as whatever you come back as…?

Fell From an Airplane – Video Reboot


If I fell from an airplane
With no parachute or anything
Would I say, oh well, that’s it
And try to make the best
of a hopeless situation?

Flying free till I hit the ground
If there was nobody else around
Would it even make a sound?
Buddy I don’t know
I just don’t know

But it’s not such a long way to fall
When you’re holding onto someone’s hand
I hope you and I can go down together
Like a lullabye

Would I go down swinging with wild abandon
Screaming in tongues till I crash land in a field
Of flowers, sending up showers
Of petals around me?

Or accept my fate with stoic grace
A saintly smile upon my face
Knowing that some things cannot be changed
‘Cause I fell from an airplane

What was that baby doing up there?
Up in a tree fifty feet in the air?
What did you mean when you said
Rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye?
Did he survive or did he die?
Did he die?

Did he did he die did he did he die, die