turning your orbit around

or... the utter enormity of the task



last friday, my band jebus had a gig at mambo italiano at 10 pm. a couple hours before that, jenn and i went to see jake shimabukuro at the strings in the mountains tent. this dude is quickly becoming the bela fleck of the ukulele - complete and astounding mastery of his instrument, and he borrows from an incredible array of music styles and disciplines. just an amazing musician.

well, a couple hours after his concert, when we were almost done with our first set, jake showed up at mambo carrying his ukulele. you know in movies, when something dramatic happens in a room full of people and there's that low murmuring as people talk to each other about what just happened - that's what it was like when jake showed up. all the folks at mambo who knew who he was were telling folks who didn't know who he was, pointing at him, etc.

we asked him to play two songs with us early in our second set, and he obliged us. he was gracious, polite, all smiles, and we had a hell of a lot of fun. you'd think being as talented as he is that he wouldn't want to bother with a bunch of dudes in some small little mountain town, but it was quite the opposite - he took time out to make us sound pretty incredible that night. we were all absolutely thrilled, and it was definitely the highlight of my short musical career.

link o' the day:

watch jake play a ridiculously cool version of the beatles' while my guitar gently weeps (make sure you pay attention from around minute 3 on - wow).


i'm so tired of running away...

i think i'll put on my war paint
and make a stand where others have before

i know two dudies out there who will be happy to hear that jenn and i saw the samples on tuesday night. those two dudies will also be happy to hear that seany boy's new lineup is sounding pretty darn good, and he finally has a keyboard player that can actually play.

if you're unfamiliar with the samples, they're the band you love that never quite made it (but you still pull for them anyway). after some serious buzz in the early nineties, lots of rotation on college radio stations, and an appearance on the jay leno show in '94, they had hit their zenith and began a slow and disappointing descent.

well, i should define descent: in spite of every original member trickling away from the band over the ensuing years except sean kelly, sean continued to write music, replaced those wayward members, and toured endlessly to support new albums; their original record label - WAR (What Are Records) - screwed them with one of those music industry nightmare contracts that just make you grimace; the band went bankrupt and in an unprecedented move actually asked their loyal fans to help them get out of debt (i think this actually worked in a small way).

after the fans helped sean out of debt, he put together a pretty good band and released a pretty lackluster album. still a great live show, though. three years ago, the members of that band trickled away, and sean put together his current incarnation, continues to tour, and put out a slightly better album last year.

a freeway never seemed so strange
rushing back and forth from a life
that i can't explain

sean kelly is the samples. and the samples are a great live band. i've seen them at least a dozen times, most of which have been with jenn, or timmy, or jamie, or robbie, or some combination thereof. in fact, mine and jenn's history is pretty firmly wrapped up in this band.

another day fades away
into the midwestern haze
a duster plane flies away
up over pastures of cattle

* the first concert jenn and i saw together was the samples, at mabel's, in 1995

* the first concert we saw together after we were broken up for a short time in the spring of 1997, was the samples in bloomington, il

* the first concert we saw together after living apart for a year in 2000/2001, was the samples in jackson, wy

* the first concert we saw together as a married couple was the samples, the day after our wedding in 2002, at mishawaka in colorado

jenn and i and our group of friends love this band. sometimes sean's lyrics can be overly sappy, sometimes they'll blow you away with their stark simplicity, but they are always a great live show. catch them if you can - who knows how much longer they'll want to grind it out on the road.

whoever stops to really smell the rose
where the columbine and the wild river flows
oh how i love her
i smile above her

postscript: if you want my opinion, the two strongest samples albums - from start to finish - are this one and this one. but don't buy the last drag, because that one's on WAR and the samples won't see a single red cent from its sale.


holy sh*t - a spinnerfall post!

hello party people! mosy on over to spinnerfall for a new post - the first one since june! woohoo!

jebus at the june mambo gig

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sum pomes

don't feel much like posting new content today, so here are a couple of old poems. the first is about our time in denver. the second is about a trip home i made 6 years ago.

josephine street

her scarves
are scattered throughout the house
they hang from coathooks
decorations made of
and chenille

his books
are on shelves
tables and chairs
they are dirty
always covered in dust
and dog hair

in spite of new paint
the walls are pockmarked
plaster bubbling
in the corner
right angles disappearing
from an old house settling

chicago bus station, december 21, 2000

street derelicts
sitting out the cold
hoping to go unnoticed
chin on chest
looking out from under eyebrows
biting nails

urban black men
cornrowed hair and baggy jeans

aged bearded hippy travelers

bald military boys
shoes patent leather shined
going home in their uniforms
full of pride

young angry kids
pierced lips and eyebrows
doc martens and wallet chains
long sleeves pulled down
to yellow nicotine fingers

and outside
the sun shines bright
negative wind chill cold
and one cannot distinguish
between cold vaporized breath
cigarette smoke
or bus exhaust
in the sooty
snowy streets of chicago