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Getting Fancy at the B/W Ball
June 5th, 2012

This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the San Francisco Symphony’s Bi-Annual Fundraiser, the Black and White Ball. It’s a pretty big spectacle, closing off several blocks of major streets around City Hall, providing free food and booze to all patrons, and entertaining with live performances on several multi-occurring stages (so many that it would probably be impossible to catch every act).

Despite the weather (cold, foggy, balmy – this is SF in the summer after all) it was quite a lot of fun. I ate tons of decent-to-good food, saw live performances from The Drifters (inside City Hall), Janelle Monae (what an amazing performer, with a great sound!), and Cyndi Lauper (live on Van Ness Ave), and wore a tuxedo while I pretended I could afford to do stuff like this everyday!

Anyway, you will probably want some pictures. These were taken by my awesome gf with her much-nicer-than-mine camera (except for the picture of me with the cute gf, which was taken by her friend).

City Hall from Van Ness

The Main Steps of City Hall

This is the only picture where I even sort-of-smiled

IMPORTANT HOLIDAY MESSAGE!
December 12th, 2011

BEER

Any questions, just ask.

3 Years!
June 18th, 2011

Wow, has it really been 3 years in San Francisco?

I guess it has, considering how much has changed…

Some highlights of the last 3 years:

  • I’m no longer paying overpriced rent to a MIA “master tenant”
  • I have learned exactly HOW AWESOME my location is – I’m next to a Farmer’s Market, two grocery stores, plenty of great bars, tons of excellent restaurants, and am just a 4 mile (flat) bike ride to my workplace
  • I managed to do some pretty serious gardening last summer
  • I am now 30 freakin years old
  • AND WE KICKED THAT FUCKING CHURCH OUT!

GONESKI!!!!

To explain further, I did not just go about being a jerk to a group of well-meaning Christians. I moved in here 3 years ago – 7 years after the church had been here – fully aware of (and even somewhat amused by) their presence. They were a minor inconvenience who had a keyboard or acoustic guitar service a couple times a week, and sometimes a full band played on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. They never woke me up, they never played past 9 pm, and they never bothered us (unless someone wanted to take a nap at 7 pm on one of the few nights they were playing).

However, about a year ago, they put in a new speaker system which would put any night club to shame. They started playing almost every night – at least 5 nights a week if not more. The full band became an integral part of the service, and the house started shaking regularly. Sometimes they would play drums as early as 6:30 am, just to practice! They would play and I’d wait for them to stop around 9…then 10….sometimes playing until 12 or 1 in the morning! One night they not only played until 1 am, they also started things up again at 7 am (I believe it was a Sunday), and didn’t turn anything down until one of my roommates went down and would not leave until they lowered the volume. She was really nice about it too!

Even though I knew this, I still thought they might be reasonable people, so last December I left them a note asking them to please keep the volume down and not play too late, which they ignored. A few days later I went down to ask them to turn down the music, as our entire house was shaking (and church wasn’t even in session at this point). Then I got introduced to the Pastor, a jerk-off named Santos, who first acted like he had never seen me before (even though I’d been living upstairs for 2.5 years), and then insisted he had every right to do whatever the hell he wanted downstairs because he paid rent.

After a month of painful co-existence (in which I called the cops several times, on advice of the sf tenants union, as well as the local police), we had a meeting w. a permits officer, our property manager, and the jerk-off-known-as-a-pastor. The “mutual” understanding was that they were not to amplify music before 9 am or after 9 pm, that they would remove the top speakers (which were literally inches from our floor and 3 of our bedrooms), and that they would install sound proofing. My property manager also told us and the officer that he would look into helping the church relocate to a more suitable location as well.

For months, there was no change. In mid-March I was told the church was going to leave by April 1st. Then April 1st it became April 15th. In this time, I had found it necessary to make a nuisance of myself, insisting that I and my roommates deserved the right to “Quiet Enjoyment“, and that the “church” was willfully taking that away from us.

A real Christian might have shown some compassion and willingness to work with us – I was more than willing to let them continue their services (even though they consisted of screaming, shouting, horrible repetitive music, and an obvious misinterpretation of the concept of Christianity), provided they could at least take some consideration with how loud they were.

“How bad could it be? It’s a church?” you might ask? When I can’t watch a movie in my room after work, even with headphones on, because there is a full scale band (drums, bass, keyboards, vocals) with more amps then my punk/metal band, I consider it pretty bad. Especially when you factor in that my house is over 100 years old and certainly not equipped to take a live band )

What kind of noise are we talking about? Let me show you what happened one night with a guest speaker….

Download a link if you are curious

Granted it was only that bad every once in a while, but I think this lets you know I was not dealing w. sane respectful Christians…

It’s not like I didn’t try to reason with them – on numerous occasions I asked them to turn things down, or even off (when after 9 as per our agreement), and got nothing more then a dismissive “We’re stopping” (which was usually a blantant lie).

Eventually everyone had enough and the property manager and landlord began to evict them. 5 months after telling us they would, the the-asshole-known-as-santos and crew finally removed the top speakers, altho not before they signed an agreement with me giving me full rights to cut their power if they refused to turn the music off or down. I spoke w. someone on their behalf who promised they wouldn’t play the electric bass or the drums anymore (which they subsequently did, and I asked them to stop, meeting resistance).

They finally pushed me so far that I pulled the electricity on them a couple weeks later, but not before warning them twice, after 9 pm, that they needed to stop. After I did this, they hung out in the dark, screaming their heads off.

They didn’t think it was so bad to live above, and they got kicked out. A lot of people people told me to leave. I didn’t leave. I stood my ground b/c I knew I was right and they were wrong.



So here it is, three years later, and we’ve won. We took back our house.

Three years later in San Francisco and I’m fronting my own band, rocking lots of yoga, riding my bike everywhere, and living in the best room in the house.

The only bad news to the 3 year update is that I’m not playing in Wee the Band anymore as of this Monday. It’s a sad feeling, as I really loved making musick with those people, but the momentum has been lost and I need to throw in the towel for at least a few months. We’ll see if things turn around, but for now, I’m going to be focusing more on Severe Bass & the Bad Decisions, yoga, and this website thing. Cuz it’s time.

So here’s to the future of Severe in San Francisco, a city that has embraced me pretty well, and I love it back. Even though the weather gets on my nerves sometimes (I’m sorry, I like heat and sunshine, and it’s never more then 65 degrees here. But I can deal.)

Better Late Then Never
January 6th, 2011

Read it in...


On just about anythang ah suppose, altho this title is really because it’s a few days behind the New Year ta be writin a post about time movin on. But ahma dae it anyway.

Last year, ah wrote a post about how ah don’t believe in resolutions, but instead believe in goals. Sadly, ah failed almost every one of those goals this year. (my actual score was 2 n two-halves [two of em ah feel ah did about half tha time er gawt halfway thar], out of a potential total of 8). Ah don’t feel bad about all of it, but ah was thinking about why ah couldn’t reach these goals, n ah came up with a few things.

What it all boils down ta tho is that these weren’t tha right goals fer me. Ah did many many other thangs – ah accomplished a lot of tha brainstorm ah had last February about whar ta put my intentions. Ahm nawt quite as far as ah wanted ta be, but neitha tha werk ah did on myself nor any of my projects is reflected in tha goals ah identified in January – nae matter how well intentioned they were.

So this year ahm gaein ta put more emphasis on intentions n outcomes. N ahve really realized that what ah dae ken be driven by three werds:

Musick. Yoga. Friends.

Ah consider Family in thar with Friends, but ah think what this really means is that what ahm daein should be with those three thangs considered. Of kerse that doesn’t mean ah can’t garden next year, er that bike maintenance isn’t a priority, er that ah don’t want more money (for tha record, ah would love more money), er my day job isn’t important. It just means that when ah have time fer myself, ah should check in n make sure that ahm daein what ah ken ta pursue these three thangs.

Why they are important ah think is obvious, but ahll gae intae them briefly. Fer musick, ah really need ta be makin sure ahm puttin my best effort forth ta bein an active n continually improvin musician. That means learnin more about tha ways ah ken record my own music on my own time, writin more songs, n practicin regularly. It’s a growin year – time ta find my voice.

Yoga is increasingly becomin more important ta me because it teaches me nawt just about my body, it reminds me ta keep payin attention ta my body n how it is doing. It ken help heal that body when it’s nawt at it’s best. Thars also what it ken dae fer my mind – bikram yoga helps me keep thangs in perspective n generally retain my composure. It brings a lawt of things intae perspective, n ah love tha journey that it’s takin me on.

Friends, as ahve mentioned, is overarching n really means those who are special to me, related er not. Sometimes ah need ta be reminded that ah need ta take effort – even if ah feel like ahm almost always tha one takin tha effort. Tha effort in tha act of initiation is greatly outweighed by connectin n reconnectin with othah humans, especially those with tha ability ta make me think (er crack me up).

Anyway, ahm werking on tryin ta keep my posts brief (both fer writing sake, but also because translating them intae Severe Slang is easier), so ah will sign off with the question – whas important ta you in 2011?

Thanks fer reading!

P.S. If you want to see what goals ah did n did nawt keep, see here.

P.P.S. Pics from tha Severe Bass n tha Bad Decisions gig are here!

Finding Ones Voice
November 23rd, 2010

Read it in...


This last year er so ahve thought a lawt more about tha songwriting process than ah have in quite a while – specifically by payin more attention ta tha many subtleties in tha musick ah find myself listenin ta. In ordah ta dae so, ahve been forced ta evaluate tha musick ah listen ta, n am now tryina ta find ways ta factor this intae tha way ah create musick. Ah haven’t quite made a breakthrough yet, but ah am learnin thangs about my musical brain n how that translates ta tha rest of me, which is interesting.

Somethang that speaks ta me very directly is tha “voice” of an artist. In most cases ahm prolly thinkin about bands with a single main songwriter/singer who also has great musicians at thar disposal ta help take tha musick somewhar else (Peter Steele of Type O Negative, Glenn Danzig, Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet, Adam Turla of Murder By Death), although thars other examples of bands that work togetha more collaboratively (Tool, Black Sabbath), n thars also a few examples of singah/songwritah teams (Ween comes ta mind first). N of kerse, Mike Patton, who ken fit intae every category depending on what he’s daein.

These artists (specially Ween) ken also be adept at adoptin a “voice” fer an album (er any amount of time, whethah its 3 songs in a row er 15 seconds). Thar is a difference between this n a “concept album” howevah, which maybe ahll gae intae greatah detail about in anothah post. Tha point is that they are adoptin a sound, but (if they are daein it rite) ken really make that sound like it belongs ta them, puttin a very personal spin on it. This kind of musick ken also be very accessible without needin ta dumb down tha sound fer mass audiences. However, what seems ta really make tha difference is tha amount of personality n craftmenship that goes intae these albums (er songs, er whatevah). Famous (er semi-famous) bands ken change thar sound ta become more accessible, which may er may nawt help thar popularity, but when a musician finds a way ta put thar “voice” into somethang specific but still authentic, thas when ah git really excited.

Before ah know how ta apply this knowledge ta what ah dae, ahm first stuck with findin my voice. Thas one of those things thas so obvious it catches me off guard. Ahm a professionally trained musician who’s been daein this fer years ah think, How is it possible that ah don’t have a voice? (Ah admit, ah ken have a pretty high opinion of myself sometimes). Tha truth is, that you have to dae this all tha time with great attention ta what yer doing, n ah just don’t compose music that often, n certainly nawt with much intention these days. Tha reason is ahm usually too busy playin in bands ta write er practice my own stuff – n that’s made me lazy. Ah don’t know what my voice is…ah sort of know some thangs that ah usually do, n ah certainly have a playin style that is relatively my own. But ah don’t know what my voice is.

What this means is that now that ahve been exposed ta tha concept of “having a voice” so now ah hafta work backwards ta “findin my voice”, n ahm nawt sure whar it is exactly. It seems ta be all over tha place. In my head, my voice is too crazy n complicated. But when ah look at my solo musician repertoire ahm often findin it’s almost too simple n predictable. Don’t git me wrong, ah won’t play a song if ah don’t think it’s cool n fun ta play -unless ahm in someone else’s band – but ahve been forced ta keep thangs simple n straight forward as a solo bassist, n ah don’t think ah need ta keep thinkin of myself as a solo bassist anymore.

So then what? Nawt sure exactly. Ah have been payin more attention ta tha voice of other musicians that ah respect n would like ta emulate (in terms of quality n musickal prolificness), n tryin ta see how they dae what it is they dae in an attempt ta figure out thangs ah ken steal n make my own. N hopefully, within all of that, some of my personality will shine thru, ahll figure out tha tricks a like the most, and ahll start talkin with my voice. It prolly will take me a while ta recognize it as my own, but ahm pretty sure thas part of tha journey.

What it really breaks down ta, is Ah need ta write more, really write, nawt just grab ideas n say “thas cool” n nevah revisit a theme again. You know, be a REAL artist.

Ah think thas tha new theme of this blog/site/whatevah. Tha journey ta becomin a real artist. Ah could debate with myself over what that means, but fer now ah feel like ahll know ahm getting there if ahm daein it right.

Disclaimer: Ahm nawt actually on any sort of deadline ta get anywhere, n ah generally move sort of slow n cautious towards my goals until ahm ready ta persue them, so ah won’t be quittin my job ta move ta a farmin co-op. Certainly nawt this year. *wink*

P.S. This also of kerrse applies ta blog-writing. Ahm realizing thars also an art ta writin n maintainin a blog, n that ah need ta keep practicin it ta develop a rhythm that works fer me. Of kerse, double-codin thangs intae Severe Slang takes extra time too (But is oh so necessary </sarcasm> )

Last stop on the turning 30 train….
March 14th, 2010

Yes, March 13th marks another year gone by for yours truly here. In case you weren’t aware, I was born on a Friday the 13th, at 13:13 Military Time. 13 was my father’s lucky number, so he was ecstatic. I have to say I really appreciate having such a close connection to such an excellent number. It also helped seal the deal when I going think13 back in December of 2007, just a month after moving out here.

But today is not about 13 (exactly), today is about 29! The last stop before the big three – oh, I am looking forward to rocking this year hard. With the (eventuall) launch of this website, and the SEVERE BASS band being on the verge of being formed, this is promising to be quite the important year for “taking that next step”.

I sort of thought that 2009 was going to be the year myself and all my friends took over the world – I’m pretty sure that 2009 was just some bullshit we all needed to get through to actualize our dreams. And what better time then?

How ya doing 29? I think we’re ready to party now.
29

Adam the King Snake
March 8th, 2010


Note that the snake is actually caught underneath the guitar strings, thus needing to work himself out of the soundhole the long way.

  • Tha OBAR!




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