Friday, August 31, 2007

Alleged Burning Man Arsonist Spills the Beans

When I'm not playing bass with Those Darn Accordions, I'm working as culture editor for Wired News. Yesterday we got a pretty funny interview with Paul Addis, the prankster accused of torching the giant Burning Man statue five days early. It's worth looking at the story just to see his crazy mug shot.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Nice Promo for Gogol Bordello

The Portland Mercury's advance notice for a Gogol Bordello show hits all the right notes: The "UN-approved punk rock" band is led by frontman Eugene Hutz, who's "part Iggy Pop and part Borat."

A friend of TDA slipped us a Gogol Bordello CD in Oshkosh, Wis., and I've been rocking it in the pickup almost every day since I got back to the Bay Area. Very much do I agree now with this fine music and newspaper review. Thanks you very much.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bust Out the Popcorn for The Accordion, the Movie says Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman will star in a romantic comedy called, simply enough, The Accordion, based on the Italian film Pane e Tulipani ("Bread and Tulips"). Wonder if the soundtrack is all hammered down?

Friday, August 24, 2007

TDA Road Food Highlights 2007

If you know Those Darn Accordions, you know we like to eat. It's said that an army travels on its stomach, and it's the same deal for this squeezebox brigade. In the interest of sharing the wealth, here are some exclusive dining tips (in no particular order) from the TDA vault:

* Swiss cream pie at Turner Hall of Monroe, Wis. If you only know this fine venue for its musical offerings and wonderful staff, do yourself a favor and head downstairs to the Ratskeller next time. The food is fantastic -- so fantastic, in fact, that it's hard to nail down the most fantastic part. Delicious fried cod? To-die-for mashed potatoes? Light and wonderful Käsechüchli? Spectacular Rösti? On and on the options go. And the dessert list is truly formidable (I'll go with the Swiss cream pie, because it was out of this world).

* Dinner at The Corner Wine Bar in Indianapolis' Broad Ripple neighborhood. Unbelievably delicious food at a great price -- I heartily recommend the cheese crock, the tomato orange soup and the extra spicy gazpacho, and that's just the appetizer menu. And Broad Ripple rocks -- who knew? (Thanks Rob, Mom and Dad.)

* Lunch at the Water City Grill in downtown Oshkosh, Wis. The website is lame, but the food is delightful. (Try the grilled shrimp appetizer for a real treat.)

And the list grows ...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Monsters of Accordion Descend on Bay Area

There's gonna be a whole lotta squeezin' goin' on this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area. Saturday and Sunday you've got the Cotati Accordion Festival (we play Sunday).

And if that's not enough accordion action, the Monsters of Accordion tour rolls into town Friday (Frisco) and Saturday (Oakland). Jason Webley, Corn Mo, Geoff Berner and Duckmandu will be playing, with special guests to include East Bay squeezebox fiend Kimric Smythe and others. SF Station writes it up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Look Out, Cotati -- Here We Come

We play the Cotati Accordion Festival this Sunday, Aug. 26. Also on the bill that day: Brave Combo, Culann's Hounds, The Mad Maggies and more. Check the full schedule to see what accordion madness awaits both days (the $25 two-day pass is the obvious bargain). Guaranteed good times!

Accordions: Funny or Enchanting?'s world music guide, Megan Romer, chooses the E word over the F word in her mini-essay, "What's So Funny About Accordions?" She also issues a call for accordion jokes, so let 'em rip.

World's Oldest Chewing Gum?

It's a 5,000-year-old hunk of chewed up pink-and-gray ... made of birch bark. See the picture on the Fortean Times website (and imagine a really old wall of gum).

All Hail Midwestern Weather!

Leah Garchik, the San Francisco Chronicle's must-read daily columnist, ran an item (scroll down) describing our glimpse of Mother Nature's power while on tour last week. (Get the extended version of the hailstorm horror story on the Wall of Wheeze.) Thanks, Leah!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cleveland Dedicates Frankie Yankovic Square

The Plain Dealer's website posts photos of friends and family members of the Polka King.

UPDATE: Here's the Plain Dealer story about the dedication ceremony.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's Our Party, and You Can Come If You Want To!

The official Squeeze Machine Midwest CD-release party happens tonight at FitzGerald's in Berwyn, Ill. We'll be playing tons of material off the new record, and special guests will include executive producer Jim Barry and art guy Sean Pete (who created the steampunk accordion on the CD cover and pulled together the rest of the album artwork). If you're in Chicagoland, come on down!

Money Quote: TDA Boasts Boomer Appeal

From a little blurb about our show in Monroe, Wis., in Madison's Isthmus: "Seasoned with low-key humor, Baby Boomers and other free-thinkers will find this group especially appealing."

Friday, August 17, 2007

Here We Come, Monroe!

Still reeling from a great night in Oshkosh, Wis., we're getting ready to load up the van and head for Turner Hall of Monroe. Word on the street is that there will be a limburger smackdown in the Turner Hall Ratskeller. It's on!

Farming Fun at the Indiana State Fair

Blogger skaryma's cool snapshots of weird stuff -- like the awesome display of hog oilers -- at the Indiana State Fair captures the agricultural merriment of the event. She also describes a TDA set there as having "the worst audience in the history of the world." She bought a CD and some shirts to help us out -- hope she got Squeeze Machine (and likes it).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thank You, Oshkosh, Good Night!

What an awesome night and an honor, opening for Tower of Power and David Sanborn. Thank you, Oshkosh, for making Waterfest so cool. (And thanks to all the Wisconsin TDA fans who swarmed the place early. You make it all worthwhile.)

Indy to Oshkosh: On the Road With TDA

Here's what it's like to roll with Those Darn Accordions: Wake up way too early to the sound of a cell phone alarm. Drive to the Indiana State Fair. Set up your gear. Sweat a bit. Look at the new copies of Squeeze Machine in sunlight for the first time.

Load onto the stage. Marvel at the stage manager's "fun is corntagious" fair shirt. Eat a hand-dipped corn dog. Play three sets, with the temperature steadily rising. (If you're the bass player, screw up a couple of songs -- in the best parts!) Eat a ribeye sandwich. Load off the stage, sweating mightily.

Get in a rental car. Drive toward Wisconsin. Get some coffee at Starbucks. Just before you get out of Indiana, have a nice dinner at Red Lobster (drink three more cups of coffee). While exiting the restaurant, notice the gusting wind and the far-off lightning. Notice that the storm rages between you and Wisconsin. Start driving.

When the torrential dowpour begins, pull over along the highway to endure the worst rain-and-hail storm you've ever seen (imagine 100 angry monkeys with golf clubs and a firehose beating relentlessly on your rental car for 10 minutes). Shriek in disbelief as the hailstones, some of which are just about as big as your fist, slam into your car. Question the state of the windshield of your rented Impala and, in the end, praise the inventor of safety glass. Drive very slowly for a long time, dodging downed trees and miniature lakes that have sprung up in fast lane.

Stop just over the Wisconsin state line for some vending machine "cappucino." Inspect the welter of dents on the rental car and relish the opportunity to perform a real-world test of the "automatic" insurance coverage your credit card gives you.

Keep on driving.

Get to Oshkosh, only to discover that the hotel bar is closed. Walk up the street to Screwballs Sports Pub, 216 N. Main St., Oshkosh, (920) 651-1515, to enjoy a late-night New Glarus double header. Revel in beers that go from half-price to free. Thank proprietor Brett Jungwirth profusely, and promise to drop off a copy of Squeeze Machine. Type yourself into a frenzy as you get psyched to play with Tower of Power and David Sanborn at Waterfest, and plot your revenge against Erin the overachiever.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

'Squeeze Machine' Pre-Release Sale Starts

Help buy Paul some gas money for that big white van! Place your orders now for the new Those Darn Accordions CD, Squeeze Machine, at the special pre-release price of just $13.50. Order your copy now from the TDA Store and it will be delivered on or about the official release date of Sept. 18.

Our manufacturer assures us we'll also have copies of Squeeze Machine in time for at least some of our upcoming shows.

Ruin Your CD With These Recording Session Faux Pas

Maybe we should have read "41 Things Not To Say During A Recording Session..." before going into the studio to work on Squeeze Machine.

The all-too-true funny list comes from Bermuda Schwartz's Rock and Roll Lies, "Your source for classic rock and roll lies, famous last words and excuses for all occasions... entertainment industry humor... quotable quotes... humorous and scandalous band names... and more." (For those of you not in the know, Bermuda is the drummer for "Weird Al" Yankovic -- and so much more!)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Accordions Storm the Nation's Capital

Lots of international accordion action in Washington, D.C., starting Monday, when the Coupe Mondiale (World Cup) squeezebox competition rolls into the capital. The weeklong event is co-hosted by the American Accordionists' Association and the Accordionists and Teachers Guild International, and the Washington Post has the scoop on a bunch of related concerts and street performances, some of which are free. (Guess TDA's invitation got lost in the dead letter office.)

Emmylou Harris Loves Accordions

"I'm a sucker for accordion music," country songbird Emmylou Harris says in praising the Amelie soundtrack in a Wall Street Journal Hit List feature. I know somebody who's getting a copy of Squeeze Machine in her mailbox ...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Are You Ready to Rock, Monroe?

Or maybe the more important question is, "Can you handle the Limburger, Mr. Rogers?" Get the answer to these burning questions and more in a funny interview with Paul that appears in The Monroe Times.

Our Aug. 17 show at Monroe's Turner Hall is one of only two Wisconsin gigs we've got booked this year (the other is the previous night at Waterfest in Oshkosh, opening for Tower of Power, David Sanborn and Paul "Poppy" Sanchez and The NOLA Allstars).

Guess that's what happens when you spend all winter, and then all spring, and then most of the summer, working on your studio tan.

We are super-stoked to return to these fine venues, and we might even have copies of our new record, Squeeze Machine, in hand to sell at the shows. But we don't make any promises our accordion cases can't keep. See you there?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

S.F. Giants: Oh Say Can You Squeeze?

OG TDA squeezer Tom Torriglia's band Bella Ciao will play the national anthem Tuesday at the San Francisco Giants' Italian Heritage Night. Undoubtedly this will propel Barry Bonds to hit No. 756 -- should be a packed house. Knock 'em dead, you Italiano party crazies!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Mile-High Squeeze-Off

More than 150 squeezers are squaring off in the Rocky Mountain Accordion Association competition this weekend, according to KUSA-TV.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Brief History of the Bayan

From the Asian shen to the Russian cherepashki ("turtles"), garmonika ("accordion") and bayan, the article "Bayan, a Russian Folk Music Instrument" offers a glimpse into the squeezebox's majestic past.