Wednesday, July 23, 2008


read this if ya wanna get teary with me:

All of My Friends Were There

...not just my friends but their best friends, too.

Getting Excited about PDX Pop and saw this ol' photo. I see Greg, John, Tom, Brian (obvs), Todd, Ledena, Skyler, Matt W and Earlie from Blitzen Trapper (he's in the corner).

I ain't checking spelling, sorry names.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh the Humanity: Muxtape Mix Volume 2

To hear what I'm talking about, go to

I'm making a compilation of (mostly really depressing) songs on my Muxtape page, but if you don't want to listen to the whole mix and probably kill yourself, just go there to listen to Bill WIthers' "Liza." Holy jeez is that a beauty.

Lately I've been going back and listening to a lot of songs I loved as a teenager. Something that happens every few years for me. But this time around all I can think is "how did I possibly understand that when I was 16?" And I think it just comes down to the fact that those songs have emotional reverberations that go way past the specifics of what the songwriter means by his or her lyrics. I mean, the "Outro" by the Catherine Wheel is a weirdly bitter post-love song that I only now really get, but the way he tells the story is so fucking genius. The sparse guitar, the inflection in his voice: You can tell that Rob Whasisface just sort of needed to get this song out of his system. And I don't know if I got romantic loneliness when I heard Sinatra's version of "Wee Small Hours," but it still affected me pretty deeply. Now I don't even think about the words, I just hear that amazing melody. So these things work both ways.

But "Liza," man, "Liza." "Liza" is the song that I'm not sure I really get now, but I can tell Bill really fucking means it and it breaks my heart. I mean, I don't think Bill Withers ever sang a line he didn't believe in—if he did, he's the best liar in the history of liars. But some day I reckon I'll be looking back and thinking of hearing it for the first time (that would be tonight/this morning) and I'll wonder what I heard in it way back when. So, for posterity, I just hear an awful lot of humanity in it.

So yeah. I'm a sad bastard. "If the Shoe Fits, Cut The Foot Off" is a total sad bastard tune from one of my favorite dudes around, Ben Barnett. And on this track he successfully peels away every layer of bullshit and just gives it to you straight. We obviously can't live our whole lives that way—it would be too painful—but when you hear an artist really expose him or herself in that way, it can be so transcendent and revealing and inspiring. The few artists I can think of who always seem emotionally raw also have a deep-seated sadness to them. People like Withers, Nina Simone, Otis Redding, Elliott Smith, BIll Murray, Magic Johnson, Johnny Cash...George Carlin had that, too, despite the whole "potty mouth" thing, he seemed to carry that heavy load that comes from showing ones hand all the time. That's the thing: With people who really mainline into our common humanity through their art, it always seems like it's killing them a little. I mean, if you've ever seen a video of Bob Marley? The greats always look like it is physically hurting them to play.

Or maybe it's a magic trick.

Sorry. I said this blog would get stream-of-consciousness on you from time to time. Just go listen to "Liza."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gator Beat!

Here's an awesome photo of my new favorite band, Gator Beat. They're from Portland!!! But they have such huge egos that they had to each be photographed separately and then pasted into this composite, or they'll just start fighting. "Nice shirt, Luis." "Oh you're one to talk, David!" Seriously. Gator Beat.

Read more about Gator Beat (personality profiles!) here!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Plan for tonight:

Get high and go see Return to Forever. I mean, c'mon.

Also, Portland has a Weezer cover band, and they mostly play the classics.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On Writing Ridiculous Subconscious Song Lyrics

Sometimes something comes to you naturally when you're in the shower or on the bus or (to be totally honest) when you just heard a song you want to steal. But sometimes you just have to stare at a blank page or screen for a while then write as quickly as you possibly can in stream of consciousness style. I'm always paranoid that if a song like the one below becomes reality, people will wonder if I'm talking about them and talking autobiographically and they'll be weirded out by the words. But when you type the first things that come to mind and rhyme, it's never really about you or people in your life directly, it's more like a crazy puzzle spilled all over the kitchen table. so that's what this one is, and I thought I'd preface it with some sort of context and put the lyrics here.

The music I'm imagining with it is like Stones-lite or something, a twist on some acoustic guitar riffs that Ben sent my way. But I kinda doubt this one becomes a Morals song because there are too many words for me to remember live and there's no chorus, just one long blah blah blah. Which is also what this introduction now sounds like. So without further ado, here is a thing called "Tinnitus Blues" which is way too something, to be sure. Also, I have never named anything "____ blues," so sorry about that.

Well the days are getting longer
and I’m shaking in my boots
and when the night finally arrives
I’m up here laying on our roof
half-dozen bottles and no opener
but my belt will always do
oh while the sun is spinning circles
throwing shadows on the moon

and somewhere trash is heating up
and spilling into the lagoon
that all the locals use for water
much more green then it is blue
it’s not your son it’s not my daughter
and there’s nothing we can do
but brand new bands are getting louder
brand new bands are really new

then your ears step up their ringing
when you’re trying to get some rest
you spill your guts with your right thumb
to get it all off of your chest
and what it seems is beamed to me
is always “god I’m such a mess”
but you’re not beaming ‘less you’re broken
bored and basically undressed

so stuff your ears with toilet paper
and cry your old self to sleep
because you know the known unknowns
and I’m a man so you know me
but 'fore you finally give in softly
and pray the lord your soul to keep
you don't remember that you sold it to me
for old new york city whiskey?

the fire escape is rusted and
my feet are far from steady
one last look at the city skyline
and I think I’m finally ready
and yes you’re surely out there looking
at the same stars as me but
that light split a billion years ago
and reached us individually
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hand-Scrawled Notes From My Past: Item 2

Item: One page of a presumably 3-page letter from Gary, recently relocated to Northern California against his will. poor baby. But your cool. Who the fuck is the cool conversation with, HUH? Skatings been banned from what park? Tell Chris he's a fag I haven't gotten a letter from him yet. Well anyways about me I'm a loser man. I haven't really made friends with anybody yet, except for these skater girls but we're not really friends we just kind of talk actually it's not talk first it's--

One of them: Do you skate?

Me: Yes.

Then it's--

Them: You should shave your head (and) Mister Skater (and) I have a Pearl Jam shirt just like that.

Me: So?

Them: You should shave your head.

Neat, HUH? My Life Sucks, I'm a loner at school. Man you know how hard it is to figuer out whose skaters here--well, it's not real hard or anything but there's a lot of people dressed like skaters wearing airwalks, etnies or vans. Oh I have a really cool health teacher. Yes he's really cool no I'm not kidding YES I AM. But he said LARDASS in class. Man I can't wait 'till this summer so I can come up and see ya's.

Approximate date: mid-1995.
Author: Gary, middle school friend and soon-to-be dad!
Paper: college-ruled paper torn out of spiral notebook. Written in small Sharpie but page number (2) written with orange colored pencil.
Context: Well, we skated a lot. Henry and Gary and I. And dude was almost literally torn from Florence more than once, basically kicking and screaming. The second time we were going to pretend we didn't know where he was so he could wind up living with us and stay in Florence instead of going back to Sacramento. But his parents found him and it was an awful scene. Really awful. For a while Hank and I thought he'd wind up dead. But I'm happy to report he's doing a lot better now.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hand-Scrawled Notes From My Past: Item 1

Item: A hand-drawn cartoon of me with the words "Where's the Love!" in a bubble above my head.

In the cartoon I'm wearing a Cherry Poppin Daddies t-shirt, my hair remains uncolored (indicating that it was bleached at the time), a scraggly goatee sits on my chin and my pants are far too baggy.

Various notes around the image read: "Just squeeze his belly and he sings," "He's just crazy" and "Hanson Lover."

The text below the cartoon reads "Yes, it's Casey! The new and impoved (sic) portable friend! He sings, he skanks (oh god how embarassing), he skates, and he's full of memorable quotes! Such as 'Well saudimize (sic) me with the handle of a toilet plunger sticking it back in my mouth busting out my front teeth!' Only $4.99."

Approximate date: late 1997
Author: High school girlfriend #2
Paper: college-ruled notebook.
Context: The "memorable quote" was something I'd tried to make into a catch phrase akin to "Well, chap my hide" or "Well, blow me down!" It was based around the case of Abner Louima, the NYC immigrant who was brutally beaten and raped by New York City cops. Not funny at all, and I specifically remember being outraged. But even then I was crass.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fuck These Guys

From the "dead to me" files. Seriously.

Well, I can't hate Pat. I mean, he rocks the Portland clothing:The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Look at him. Even he is saying "fuck these guys." But other than Pat, fuck these guys.

Oh, this all started when I heard possibly the worst song of all-time over at I dare you. I fucking dare you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

When You Let Your Mind Wander...

...where does it go? That's the question I swear I'm going to ask everyone I interview from now on. Like this guy, who, coincidentally, the PSU Vanguard already wrote about:

But anyway, I just wanna know. Mine goes to black holes and overpopulation and the list of things I'm dreading. Right now I'm in a cafe off Stark and 79th, and the fear has definitely set in. The Morals are about to play the same two songs three or four times each for a video blog co-run by our friend James. The people at this coffee shop are curious, they don't know what's going on. But they will pretty soon, and I have terrible stage fright when I think that I'm being a nuisance. I feel like we're a nuisance here. Playing the same songs over and over is going to be like pulling teeth. It was hard enough to run through them. Now we gotta go for real. Wish us luck. I'll post it when we get it.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

How Useful is Sleep, Really?

I read in the Atlantic Monthly, I think, that Davide Blaine was going to try and stay awake for two weeks. Like so many things I can't imagine, I can't imagine that, really. But I can certainly imagine trucking along with 10 or 11 episodes of The Prisoner and putting off my story on White Fang until tomorrow at about 8 a.m. That sounds altogether manageable.

Here's Keith Richards on staying awake (courtesy of SFgate):

The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards has a warning for illusionist David Blaine, who plans to go a record-breaking 13 days without sleep later this year. The rocker says he ended up with a broken nose when he stayed awake for nine days.

Richards claims he managed to stay awake for nine days back in the 1970s, thanks to a cocktail of narcotics, but the feat ended badly.

He reveals, "On the ninth day I was putting a tape into a tape deck. In 0.3 of a second I fell asleep and crashed headfirst into a JVC speaker, smashing my nose apart. I just lay there and let it bleed. It was a chemical thing.

Yup. It was a chemical thing. I don't have any chemicals. But I'm going to put on a record. This record, actually:

You know, when I read that little article about Keith Richards, I might read it differently than you do. Since I began writing as a semi-serious endeavor, whenever I read a little article like that, I can't just read it. Instead I wonder what kind of question elicited the anecdote. I wonder what the writer didn't include, and why. I wonder if Keith was stressed or kicking back on a couch when he was getting interviewed, or whether he was between the front doors of a hotel and a limousine. I wonder if he was just trying to get the reporter off his back and feeding him a line. I wonder if the writer is happy with his life, bugging celebrities and rock stars for anecdotes that might become a blip on the larger cultural radar. I wonder if that gives him any job satisfaction.

But those kind of details rarely make it into a short entertainment story, so I just keep wondering.

And if you're going to buy a Mal Waldron album, don't buy that one (unless you're my friend Amy Sly, who I think would prefer that one). Buy this one:

I love that one.

There's really little rhyme or reason to the Jazz albums I fall in love with. I just buy tons of Jazz (and, occasionally, download some Jazz) and some of it grabs me. Then I buy everything I can by the instrumentalists I like the most. It's kind of like looking at your friends' friends' friends on MySpace. So The Quest was the first Mal Waldron album I ever bought. It looked cool and had two fantastic players (Eric Dolphy, whose Out To Lunch was an early favorite when I was getting into Jazz, and Booker Ervin, who I knew from some of my favorite Mingus albums). And anyway, The Quest is totally brilliant and adventurous. Blue World is less out there, but a very pretty, even romantic traditional trio album nonetheless, and it features one of my favorite bassists, Paul Chambers, plus the great Art Taylor holding down the rhythm section.

Lastly, I didn't address the idea or reasoning behind keeping this blog. There isn't one. And lord knows the last thing I need is another place to keep my writing. But I'm hoping to make this a pretty stream-of-consciousness type deal, kinda like going to a shrink and saying stupid shit for an hour a week, except I don't have to pay the bills or admit I have problems.