Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Where the Hell Have I been?

I know…I know. It’s been way too long since I posted a blog on this site. It’s been over a month now. I’m truly sorry. It’s been really crazy here. I shouldn’t even be writing this blog now.

As you all know, I took two short trips at the end of April. First, I visited my family in Arizona. I spent a couple of days with my father in Tucson and a couple more days with my younger brother and his family in Phoenix. While in Phoenix, I also visited my other, even younger brother and his family, as well as my mom. The only immediate family member I didn’t see was my sister, probably because she lives outside of Seattle. These family trips always put me in an introspective mood and this one was no different. Talking to my family is always a revelation. None of them are really like me in attitude. Most of them are conservative and religious to some extent, with varying degrees of open-mindness. They’re not the type of people I talk to a lot, but it’s good for me to get this view into another world every once in a while. Then my mom dropped a mini-bomb on me about my early school years that put a lot of past events into focus for me. I really couldn’t wait to get home to write all about it.

But then I found myself swamped for the two days I was home, before we left for a second short trip up to San Francisco. (I should at least mention a great restaurant we found in Tucson called Café Poca Cosa. - - It’s a regional Mexican place that cooks up all kinds of wonderful moles. I wish it was located here in Los Angeles. We liked it so much the first day, we went back to eat there again the next day. If you’re ever in Tucson, go there!)

We were going up to San Francisco for the sole purpose of seeing English industrial band, Throbbing Gristle play live. They did an LA show two nights before, but that show was just the band playing a live soundtrack for the Derek Jarman film, “In the Shadow of the Sun” (, and we wanted to see them do a regular show as well. We also wanted to visit with several friends. We stayed with Karl, who used to be a roommate and who we see several times a year. We also saw Stoo, the old bass player from Thin White Rope and now leader of the great band, the Graves Brothers Deluxe ( I was also excited to be meeting up with Arno, who I haven’t seen since Skip and I got married up in Portland five years ago. I used to work with Arno at Rhino over a decade ago and am saddened that I see him so seldom these days. Seeing all these friends and hearing about their lives now also worked to send me into introspection, and once again I was planning on writing about it as soon as I got home. (And I should also mention that Throbbing Gristle were amazing and we were really glad we made the trip up to see them. They did one of my favorite songs, “Hamburger Lady” and that alone was worth the trip.)

But once again, I arrived home to tons of work and due to the traveling, I was about three weeks behind. One of my clients I sell for had given me thousands of CDs. The longer I sat on those, the less money I would make on them. So I had to get them listed on Amazon as soon as possible. That took weeks, and the many days of those weeks were interrupted by several events.

The big event was a traumatic one. A year and a half ago, I lost the greatest cat that I had ever had as a companion. I wrote about Frankie then and you can find that in my blog archives. ( We were left with two other cats, neither as close to me as Frankie was, but loved none-the-less. That was Chuck and Squeek, who we found as weeks-old kittens in the engine block of our car one morning. Within a few hours of getting home, I noticed that the female, Squeek, who we named after one of Charles Manson’s female sidekicks, Squeaky Fromme, was looking very thin and was rather haggard. That’s not a good sign, so I ran her down to the vet, who after a series if tests found that she was suffering from some rare form of feline hepatitis. The vet told me they knew very little about this disease and there was only a small chance of her recovering from it. Considering our dwindling financial situation, I really should have put her down right then and there. But our pets are part of our family and I feel that I owe it to them to at least try. So we authorized the vet to spend the next three days trying to flush the disease out of her system. Of course, that failed and we were out $1000 for the effort, but at least we tried as much as we could. After a week of worry, I found myself at the vet trying to comfort Squeek as she was given the injection that would end her life.

Now I should explain that while it is always extremely traumatic for me to be with these loved pets as they are put down, I also feel that I should be there with them. They have brought so much happiness and comfort to my life and I should at least do the same for them by being a familiar, comfortable face for them as they breathe their last. Skip can’t deal with it, but I feel I owe it to them. I wasn’t as close to Squeek as I was to Frankie, but it still destroyed me for a couple of days and I couldn’t convince myself to do anything, let alone write. Even now I can feel a painfully empty pit in my stomach as I write about it.

So that leaves us with one cat, Chuck, and you must be able to figure out who he was named after. Like Squeek, I wasn’t all that close to Chuck. They were good cats, but kind of stuck to themselves, appearing only now and then for a quick petting or the feeding of snacks. But Chuck has dramatically changed now that he’s the only cat in the house. He now loves to lie next to me on the couch as we watch TV and he spends the night curled up next to me on the bed, purring loudly. He even plays with a string now, which he never did. He still doesn’t like to be picked up and held, but I find myself rapidly growing closer to him and am finding great comfort in his animal friendship. I know I’m just setting myself up for more traumas in the future, but it’s the price we pay for companionship with these little creatures. Until the day I have to put him down, I will enjoy his company and love him as much as I can.

The other reason I’m so far behind is a happier one. That would be the annual Disney’s California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, held for six weeks at the theme park next to Disneyland. ( This is always great fun and although we can’t afford to do many of the guest dinners and signature events this year, there is still plenty to do for free or for very cheap. We especially like the complimentary wine tastings, where we get to drink a few of our favorites and try new wines we haven’t discovered yet. During this event, we usually end up spending three or four days a week down at the Disneyland Resort, which is about what we are averaging this year as well.

On top of that, we love to see bands at the House of Blues in Anaheim, which is on Disney property. We saw Rufus Wainwright (, who was wonderful and also helped to send me into introspection on my early life. (I promise to get to all that someday. I still think I need to sort it out a bit before I tackle making the subject into a public discussion.)

We also just saw Doves (, who I liked. I found myself wishing that they would just cut loose a bit more though, instead of being so safely structured. They are heavily influenced by late 80s-early 90s guitar rock, like Swervedriver and, I swear, Thin White Rope, but they refuse to let their sound get out of control and it holds them back in the live setting. A little chaos can go a long way towards an exciting set.

Coming up, we’re seeing Fischerspooner, New York Dolls, and the Orb all do separate shows at the club and I’m looking forward to it. We’re also planning on seeing the White Rabbits at the Troubadour in a few weeks. In June is the start of the Hollywood Bowl season (this year includes a Henry Mancini tribute, Adele, Etta James, Grace Jones, Of Montreal, John Fogerty, Toots & the Maytals, Gregory Isaacs, Sergio Mendez, Eddie Palmieri and Poncho Sanchez) and we’re also seeing “Spamalot” on stage and Jarvis Cocker in concert.

But despite it all, I promise to get back on schedule and have new blogs up close to every week. I still have a good many road stories to tell about Thin White Rope and I’m trying to work on stories that feature some of the other bands I worked with, like Poster Children, BPeople and Young Fresh Fellows. There’s a lot more on a number of other subjects I would like to get into as well. So keep checking and I’ll be here.

In a lot of ways, you may be lucky I wasn’t able to write because most of my attention was drawn towards the political question of gay marriage. I was going to do a column on that “stupid bitch” Miss California, but have now decided that her 15 minutes are up and she just bores me. There have also been some quite dumb comments made by RNC Michael Steele, but Keith Olbermann has said it better than I ever could ( And of course, there’s Obama’s continuing ability to talk-the-talk and not walk-the-walk, especially with his inactivity on his promise to end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ( I’m not going to write at length about any of this stuff now, but I reserve the right to visit these events in the future.

I’d like to thank those of you who have left me comments or sent emails about various blogs and subjects. Thanks for those and believe me when I say that they’re extremely important to me. Any sign that you are out there reading and enjoying these words I’m writing helps keep me going.

You probably also noticed that I’ve already taken the ads down off my site. While I get more hits here than I ever expected to get, I don’t get enough at this time to really translate into much cash. I’ve decided that the payoff isn’t worth subjecting you all to ads on my site. Maybe someday, but not now.

So thanks again for reading and supporting me and I hope to see you all back here next week.


  1. Hey thats a loads of adventures, sorry about your Cat ML, same thig happened to me last month ( my famele german boxer died very young) so i kind know how it is....
    there is a previously unseen TWR video posted on YouTube by Matt, from last gig in Ghent, its absolutely stunning, check it out: