Friday, February 29, 2008

Squeeze Machine Secrets: 'The Janitor Knows'

Some of you know that in my other life I am an electrician. I don't do much of it these days, but occasionally my wife will let it slip to one of her friends and the next thing I know I'm up on a ladder hanging a ceiling fan.

That's exactly what I was doing when I got the inspiration for "The Janitor Knows." I saw a photograph on a wall in the room where I was working and it intrigued me enough to stop and take a closer look. It was a photo taken in a gymnasium of a guy in the foreground in what I thought was a janitor's uniform and two younger guys shooting hoops in the background.

It immediately hit me that this janitor must be waiting for these guys to finish their game so he can clean up the place and go home. It was like two different worlds in the same room. I couldn't get it out of my head and by the next day "The Janitor Knows" was done. It's actually my favorite tune on Squeeze Machine, but I really had to fight to get it on. Some of the gals in the band thought it was about a peeping tom and too creepy, but that never occurred to me. I assure you it is not.

A couple of months later, I mentioned to the people that I was working for that I had written a song about the photo on their wall. It turns out it's actually their son, who is a prison guard, and he is watching two prisoners during their exercise break. They were mildly amused at my interpretation. Geez, if I'd known what was really going on, I think I would have been sent in a whole different direction. I'm glad I didn't!

BTW, this is not the first time I got a song inspiration on the job. I was cutting some conduit and I cut my finger in the process. I immediately had an image of my high school shop teacher laughing at me. Out popped "Mr. Slagle's Revenge," which we recorded for Amped. Oh, the things I do for the sake of art!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Squeeze Machine Secrets: 'Cocktails in Tehran'

Ever wonder where the Howells traveled before they got shipwrecked on Gilligan's Island? Me too. Listen to "Cocktails in Tehran," use your imagination and let Carri act as your own private tour guide as she whisks you on a whirlwind vacation that would satisfy the wanderlust of even Thurston Howell III and Lovey.

Sample & buy the track here.

The Bowling King Dethroned

Say it isn't so! First the breweries left town, now it looks like the United States Bowling Congress is threatening to leave Milwaukee and move it's headquarters to Texas.
That's just not right. Of course, that doesn't mean folks will stop bowling (or drinking beer) in Milwaukee, but it is another chink in the grand history of this great midwest blue collar town. Who knows when the next pin will drop? Perhaps only The Bowling King! Whatever happens, we can rest assured that there will always be Koz's Mini Bowl to fall back on!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Light Up Your Accordion

Hey, I could use something like this to spice up the TDA show. Some might think that Wallace Gale has got too much time on his hands, but I think his twinkling accordion is pure genius.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction

Leave it to our old pal Lawrence Welk to provide what has to be one of the more bizarre moments in television history.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Have Distortion, Will Travel

Hey, When Magnetic Fields set out to make a CD with distorted accordion, they should have given us a call. We've pretty much got it down to a science. With Sennheiser mics and amps set on overdrive, we get a pretty beefy crunch. The only concern, and it's a big one, is the dreaded feedback. I don't know why they were having trouble getting feedback because it's a constant threat when we play live. Of course, there's a big difference between "feedback" and "distortion" and the article doesn't make that distinction. It could just be a matter of semantics. Anyway, check out Magnetic Field's new CD, "Distortion" and then give "Squeeze Machine" a listen. It should make for an interesting comparison.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Meet the Dinks

I've been going through the vault and pulling out some PRETTY interesting stuff, not the least of which is my first forays into songwriting for a band. It was 1980 and I was living in Alameda, CA , just across the bay from San Francisco. I was rehearsing in a half burned down cottage behind the house I was staying in with two friends I knew from my college days in Delaware, OH, Jim Breece, Paul Morris.
The three of us crammed in that small space and we banged out a bundle of New Wave, Power Pop, Pre-Punk, Post-Wacko and just plain nutty tunes. Jim played bass and Paul played guitar. Later when we started to record, we added a local drummer, Jerry Myers. We managed to get most of these tunes down on tape in some kind of rough demo form and it's fun to hear the raw energy of those recordings.
We played the SF club scene for a couple years and a couple of name changes and had a great time doing it. So I invite you to take a trip back in time and Meet The Dinks!