Monday, March 03, 2008

a river runs through this

lottery league band practice photo within
this is my third or fourth post regarding lottery league where everyones name was pulled out of a hopper and paired with a bandmate that they have never made music with before. bands have eight weeks to practice and come up with a short set for the largest one day show in the beachland ballrooms history [i'm wondering if there has ever been more bands [33] to perform at a one day show in cleveland?]

"i just spent 8 days on the road and i wanna make it home tonight" -roger miller

i went out sunday at 2pm and got home at 10:30, so i guess it was actually 8 hours on the road. i crossed the cuyahoga river 9 diferent times to shoot 4 bands [west, east, west, east, repeat] and grab dinner at steves lunch so all in all it was a good day.

'good news for people with credit problems' was first on my list this afternoon and is also my favorite band name. GNFPWCP practice over in the kinsman & E151 area which i'm quite familiar with after working on the kinsman & 153rd corner for eight years 20 years ago and was reminded that there is still no quick way to get there from the near west side.
the band was already practicing when i got to the address and i presumed they wouldn't hear me ringing the bell so i had to guess what door to enter which is tricky business in this neighborhood, my investigative skills led me to abandon the front 2 doors and try the rear side door because it appeared to have the fresher footprints in the snow surrounding it. the next hurdle was what to do about the german shepard attached to a chain that was big enough to tow barges.
after finding my courage, i dart inside and hear a 'hey!' from a dark figure inside [everything appears dark because of my snow eyes], i say hey back and notice my chest is bullet hole free so i assume my door guess was right.
i follow the guitar-riffs to the basement of carls palatial estate where i meet the other band members with someone asking me if i seen carl upstairs, i replied that all i seen was a shadow cross the hall but does carl yell 'hey!' when white boys barge unannounced through his side door? someone explains that he ran upstairs to see why the dog is going nuts.

'good news for people with credit problems' was working on a couple intricate punk songs in the hour i was there, stopping whenever a note or drumbeat was missed or played incorrectly and then starting over again & again. GNFPWCP gets my 'taking this lottery league shit, dead serious award'. that was quite refreshing after seeing a couple 'fuck songwriting, we can just jam for ten minutes' attitudes.
all three guitarists as well as carl the drummer appear to know exactly their role in the band which gave this observer the impression that they've been together quite sometime or certainly longer than a month instead of a couple weeks.
i labeled 'good news for people with credit problems' as a punk band a few sentences back but i should be more specific and say 'a punk band with three guitarists one of which that has wandered off the reservation with a couple squaws in tow'. it is that 'wandering guitarist' that gives GNFPWCP an unique sound, hearing tony erba sing while playing a mean bass was also a bonus. definitely, GNFPWCP is a lottery league contender.

[GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE WITH CREDIT PROBLEMS: Carl Holt (Zyklus II, In Cold Blood), Tony Erba (Cheap Tragedies, Face Value), Ted Flynn (Theodore Vril, Flux Up 10%), Nick Lacotta (Hot Rails)]

photos / myspace w/songs!

the second practice was of 'anal cheetahs' who have a space overlooking the cuyahoga river and perhaps the river is the reason AC have gone the ambient route. actually the band was missing two of their band mates, one of significance but with katherine on theremin, brian on keyboards and nick with a minimist approach on the drums that had their sound flowing smoother than the frozen cuyahoga.
something i did not know until the end of the practice was that katherine makes her own instruments including the theremin she was using during 'lazy river, frozen time', this came as a surprise to me, not that i didn't believe kath could build an instrument [if katherine told me she built the log cabin sitting across the river i would believe her] but that the theremin works and sounds as any 'store bought' theremin and the woodwork is done flawlessly so much that it looks antique. katherine also mentioned she has a thumb guitar made from a lawn rake. i inquired on what it would take to build me a guitar that would have live fish swimming in its translucent body, i believe she is 'crunching the numbers as i speak'.

[THE ANAL CHEETAHS: Nick Riley (Mystery of Two, The Lobster Clause), Brian Straw (Low Lamps, 6 Parts 7), Katherine Koenig (Maximum Consumption), Stephanie Griffin (Afternoon Naps, Cleveland Country Band), Julius Kwolek (Hoagie Tres, Plus Ultra)]

photos /

after making a few snow angels in my skives on the banks of the river i hustle over to the surwest-side. i've been to R&R city several times within the last few weeks and each time i take a left onto 53rd street and proceed down the hill i get the feeling 'oh shit, i took a wrong turn and somehow wound up on the set of cloverfield'. there are other areas of cleveland/pittsburgh that i get the same feeling at times when it is deserted and empty but so far it seems that it is every time i descend down that part of west 53rd that i get that feeling. there is a term i heard from graffiti artists urban beautifiers: 'post america' that also describes that experience of being somewhere that was the heart & soul of the community while providing the lifestyles & employment for thousands during the roaring 50s only to be rotting from time since its abandonment.
at the bottom of 53rd sits the 'stepfather factory', a huge rotting brick building that takes up about 10 acres on what seems like a 500 acre lot [i guess they needed that huge lot for all the big cars they drove back then], the place is surrounded by a ten foot fence all the way around the perimeter that has areas cut out so people can check the place out if they wish. the building itself has a sign the size of a basketball court hanging from it that read something like 'for sale' before it started to detach and become unreadable.

when i get to the 'homeless sexuals' practice space i find out from chris that half of their band is absent, i confess to chris that i'm half ninja [i was being funny, its actually 3/4]. its another funny coincidence of the lottery league bands that this one band would wind up with two of the most dedicated musicians of the lot. some bands have other odd coincidences and some have other dedicated musicians but it appears to me that there are only few that are dedicated as chris smith & jonathan morgan. it would of seemed natural to me that if only one of them would of been practicing alone when i walked through the door.
its hard to realize how good a guitarist/musician chris is until you see him practicing with only a drummer and the ability he has to create a riff.
jonathan is the style of drummer every kid dreams of becoming, easily creating a roll or bridge for the most complex of guitarists.
the interesting practice will be the one that the other half of the band can make an appearance, michael may find a chance to be creative with his vocals and bubba could learn much from chris.

photos /

[HOMELESSSEXUAL: Jonathan Morgan (Disengage), Chris Smith (Keelhaul, Inmates)
Bubba O'Connor (Machine Go Boom, Burger Boys), Mike Diliberto (Boatzz, 30 Lincoln)
Matthew T (20,000 Leagues Under the Industry)]

after dinner at steves lunch which consisted of 'the meatloaf sandwich' opened face style & smothered in mama steves awesome homemade gravy with a diet-rite soda. a couple dudes along the counter looked at me in envy as my platter arrived, some may have been thinking 'why is this dude wasting 3 bucks on a deluxe cuisine when he could get for the same 3 dollars, 6 chili cheeze dogs that will be with you for days?'
i was shot a couple of glares as i left but it was i[my digestive system] that had 'the last laugh'..

i head cross the divide towards east 72nd & st.clair better known as 'the embassy'. i was at this space last sunday at this precise time only to be locked out and without a cellphone. this time i called j guy in advance on my landline that i arranged for someone to graciously allow me entrance to 'the embassy' 15 minutes after i hangup the phone. as i pull in the 'lot with the boats' i notice the warehouse elevator descending and by the time a get to the door, rich is there to greet me.

'mohammed cartoon' has a couple/three practices previous to this evening and it shows. jim was putting his vocals through some kind of filter to make it sound cartoonish or as if he was inhaling helium [jim explains it as singing through a box fan]. rich was doing some interesting things on guitar and sometimes bass while jeff was maneuvering them clear of the icebergs with his guitar.
john neeley was absent from this practice and i'm not sure what his role is but i'm guessing guitar.
MC appears to be another lottery league band that has their shit together and i'm looking forward their set at the big show april 12 at the beachland.

[MOHAMMED CARTOON: J Guy (Dead Peasant Insurance, Scarcity of Tanks), Rich Raponi (Self Destruct Button, The Deathers), Jim Karpinski (Burger Boys, Giant Eagle), Jeff Curtis (Iron Ixide, Gem), John Neely (Tokyo Storm Warning)]

photos / myspace [w/songs!]


related links: my LL blog posts / official LL blog / LL myspace page / LL bowling night photos / LL practice sessions photos / LL slot selection photos / LL bowling night photos

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