Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year (Don't Try This at Home)

Most accordion greats start (and finish) with the full complement of fingers, so I can't endorse this cockamamie "How to Pop a Cork With a Sword" article and video from Wired News. (On the other hand, the story is a year old, and there haven't been any lawsuits yet, so maybe it's OK.)

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Those Darn Accordions Pix From San Antonio

Don't know how I missed Kay Douglas' great pictures from the International Accordion Festival in San Antonio, but here they are:

There are some fun shots of TDA as well as many, many pictures of other performers and happy audience members. Truly fine photography. Thanks, Kay!

And the Best Polka Album Nominees Are ...

Here are the bands competing for the Grammy for best polka album of 2007:

We've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Brave Combo and Bubba many times over the years, and we got to hang with Alex at this year's Cotati Accordion Festival. But we've never met the old-school guys like Jimmy Sturr and Walter Ostanek -- we just don't seem to mingle with the straight polka crowd. (Guess that's sensible enough, considering the oddball nature of our music.) Maybe someday ...

Congrats to all the nominees.

P.S. I'm intrigued by Brian Sklar and the Western Senators. Turns out the band has an alter ego called the Tex Pistols, which sounds like essentially the same group, sans accordions. The Tex Pistols say they "play the (country) classics with today's sound and energy" -- they even dress up in Nudie suits, just like the pre-outlaw greats.

P.P.S. I'm equally curious about the National Polka Festival in Ennis, Texas. And the more time we spend in Texas, the more I like that musically rich state.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The 10 Stupidest Rock Quotes of 2007

Rockers with foot-in-mouth syndrome get their moment of ignominy, courtesy of Gibson's list of The 10 Stupidest Rock Quotes of 2007. Thundering loudmouths (and rock heroes) Gene Simmons and Ted Nugent make the list, along with twittering idjits like Amy Winehouse, Kelly Pickler and Christina Aguilera.

Simmons' award-winning quote is hilarious, and actually makes sense (if you're not into the whole "music wants to be free" download fever):

"Every little college kid, every freshly scrubbed little kid’s face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning," Simmons told Billboard magazine. "Those kids are putting 100,000 to a million people out of work. How can you pick on them? They’ve got freckles. That's a crook. He may as well be wearing a bandit's mask."

It's a pretty funny read. (And what a relief nobody from Those Darn Accordions made the list.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Heads and Horns': The Deer's Revenge

This video of a deer attacking a hunter is kind of old, but worth wasting a minute of your back-to-work Wednesday. I'm waiting for the "Heads and Horns" remix. (It's still my favorite song on Squeeze Machine.)


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Carl Finch's Polka Faves

Brave Combo leader Carl Finch runs down his top five favorite polka albums for the Houston Chronicle, then goes on to list other "essential artists" in the genre. Shockingly, Those Darn Accordions did not make the list -- but our friends in Polkacide, Polka Freakout and The Polkaholics did. Time for some kielbasa, beer and sauerkraut to celebrate!

Best Albums of 2007?

Everybody in the blogosphere is picking the best albums of 2007, including Wired's culture blog. Underwire is also letting readers nominate their own faves and vote -- and some joker added a record by a certain squeezebox rock band. Check the list and vote! (Don't miss the "next" link at the bottom, as that's where Squeeze Machine will probably be listed.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Seattle's Crocodile Cafe Snaps Shut

The legendary Crocodile Cafe, a cool Seattle club where Those Darn Accordions has played more than one memorable show, closed unexpectedly (or maybe not) this week, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Bummer ...

A Visit With Clyde

Got this photo from former TDA member Patty Brady on a recent visit she made to Clyde Forsman, another TDA alum. For those of you lucky enough to have caught Clyde in action at Milwaukee Summerfest and other festivals, you know what a great showman he was. He's had a pretty rough year and I'm hoping to pay a visit this week while I'm in the Bay Area. His rendition of Hendrix's "Fire" is legendary. If anyone would like to send a note to Clyde, just post a comment here and I'll forward it to him. I know he'd love to hear from his fans!

Friday, December 14, 2007

'Santa Lost A Ho' in LA

Looks like The Christmas Jug Band isn't the only group putting a slightly nutty twist on the holiday season. The Fruitcake Follies is having a sold out run in Los Angeles this year with a little help from "Santa Lost A Ho." Backstage Magazine has a nice little article on a few oddball offerings in the LA area.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Santa Lost A Ho' Keeps Rolling

"Santa Lost A Ho" is now No. 1 in multiple categories at MP3 downloads and No. 80 overall! What the heck is going on out there? I don't know ... but I do know that the Christmas Jug Band tore it up at the 2AM club last night in Mill Valley, Calif., and we intend to do the same at The Palms Playhouse in Winters, Calif., tonight. Come on over, up or down and join the holiday high jinks!

Monday, December 10, 2007

'Santa Lost A Ho' Hits No. 1

As I write this George Strait has been bumped by yours truly and "Santa Lost A Ho" is sitting up on top in the Country Swing category for MP3 downloads. It's No. 273 in all MP3 downloads. I'm not sure what any of this means when it comes to buying groceries, but it's still kind of fun to see that folks are catching on to the Christmas Jug Band.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mad Maggies Set Sail for Smiley's

Big band in a little bar, tonight! The Mad Maggies play Smiley's Saloon & Hotel tonight, so if you're anywhere near Bolinas, Calif., come on out and listen for a spell.

To call Smiley's "colorful" is like saying Dick Contino plays a little acordion. The place is a hoot.

This is a warm-up gig for the Maggies' recording session next weekend. TDA drum alum Bill Schwartz is back in the band, so prep yer ears fer a display of some mad skin-poundin' skillz on the third CD.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Behold the Gummy Haggis

Just look at it, sitting there in all its faux meaty goodness. It's Angry Scotsman's Gummy Haggis, and it wants to be in your stomach. Which is kinda weird when you think about it.

Reminds me that I always wanted to open a restaurant called The Haggis Shack. The motto: "The Haggis Shack -- Where the Offal Ain't."

Is there nothing they won't make out of "gummy" (whatever that is)? One thing's for sure: If it's weird, Archie McPhee sells it -- check out their meat-themed goodies.

(Via Laughing Squid)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

TDA Video Clip: 'Them Hippies Was Right'

I put a video clip of "Them Hippies Was Right" up on YouTube. The sound is pretty gnarly, but it's kind of fun to watch. It's from a 2006 show at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, California. Check it out!

'Santa Lost A Ho' Is Moving Up

That other darn band I play with every December, The Christmas Jug Band, is moving up the charts. One ditty I do with the CJB, "Santa Lost A Ho," is actually ranked No. 7 in downloads in the Country Swing category and No. 3,576 overall for best-selling MP3 downloads. Not too shabby!

Get Yer Steampunk Accordion Shirts

Behold, the brown Squeeze Machine shirt! The electronic sweatshop known as the Those Darn Accordions Web Publishing Division has finally stopped polishing the storefront pixels, and now the must-have squeezebox tee of the year is available online in the TDA Store. The two-color front print features the steampunk accordion from the Squeeze Machine CD cover. The back is tastefully blank.

As you can see, the shirt will make you look very cool indeed.

P.S. Got other holiday gifting needs? See Paul's TDA X-Mas Shopping Tips.

Robots Serve Drinks at Roboexotica

Robots? Booze? How can you not click on "Boozebots Get Their Shot at Roboexotica"?

Too Bad Leslie Hall Doesn't Play Accordion

Because I'll bet she'd be a heck of a squeezer. Check out Wired News' profile of the gem sweater lady, "YouTube Gem Leslie Hall Bedazzles the Masses."