I usually don’t like the way YouTube videos of shows turn out. The lighting is usually bad, the sound worse, the way it’s filmed makes you want to crawl into a cave and die. However, this one turned out pretty good. This is my former band, No Show Ponies, playing at Strange Brew in Austin, Texas. We played the small listening room in Austin earlier this year. It is one of the best sounding rooms in Austin. My brother Ben is on guitar and vocals. Alex Moralez, who is also playing with me in my current solo project, is on drums. The set is a mix of original songs and covers, but it is only part of the set. On that day we covered Joe Strummer, Lou Reed, John Hiatt, and Jackson Browne. The rest of the songs are ours. Some of them our from our album A Manual for Defeat, and some are newer. If you are bored at work today, plug in your headphones, pretend to look busy, and have a listen…
This weekend I will be appearing at Strange Brew with No Show Ponies in Austin, Texas at 10pm. Strange Brew was voted the best sounding room in Austin. This is a really important show for us and we would be greatly appreciative if any of you in the area could make the journey out Friday night. We will be unveiling several new compositions and giving away a limited number of free downloads of our new album A Manual for Defeat to those of you that make it out.
You can listen to what we do at http://www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com
I will also be appearing tonight with Shinyribs in Bryan, Texas. We will be at the Grand Stafford Theater.
This weekend Shinyribs will be appearing at Old Settler’s Festival on both Saturday and Sunday.
You can learn more about Shinyribs at http://www.shinyribs.org.
I will be appearing with No Show Ponies today at South Austin Brewery at 12 noon. We will also be on ChannelAustin which is Channel 10 on your local Austin cable provider. For those of you not in the Austin area you can find us at 12pm Central Time at http://www.youtube.com/infynithour.
We will also be at Sam’s Town Point tonight, one of our favorite local bars, at 11pm.
In the future, when all’s well…
You can also stream or purchase our album, A Manual for Defeat, at http://www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com
Blogging has been a little slow the last 48 hours. As well as other things I’ve been focusing on songwriting. There are songwriters that can write something almost every time they sit down and then there are guys like Leonard Cohen whose process is really slow. I’m somewhere in the middle. Once I find inspiration I will complete a series of things rather quickly. However in between those bursts of inspiration I may lie dormant for a month or two, sometimes even longer.
I’m always attempting to write, but if I’m not inspired much of what I write is garbage. I would say that 80% of the things that I write I toss out. Another 10% roughly falls through the cracks. Only maybe 10% of the things I have written ever see the stage or the recording studio. Even after that, except for our last record where I believe in every song, I feel like only a percentage of those things have reached some kind of definitive form. Basically it is tons and tons of song writing to achieve those moments that I feel are perfect.
Even if you write something great there are so many ways it can go wrong. The arrangement can be subpar. You could have a great arrangement and the performance is lacking. You could even have a great song with a great performance and the mix just somehow sucks the life out of it. As in life, so much is out of your control. You not only need to write great material, but you need to have the right musicians, the right producer, and the right energy at the time of recording.
The thing that was so beautiful about our new record, A Manual for Defeat, was that the process itself cut out a lot of the bullshit that can go wrong from point A to point B. I love creating in the studio. It drives some people nuts, but it’s actually total fun for me. It’s also a way for things to go horribly wrong. You might stumble upon something completely new, but when you don’t have a lot of money especially, you can just as easily over-think things and lose the initial passion of a piece. So many musicians will tell you that they love their demos more than their actual records. Until we did this new record my favorite No Show Ponies recordings that we ever did were Ben and I fucking about on Garage Band on my brother’s Mac. The demos the two of us made sounded thin and cheap sounding, but there was a certain magic captured on those things that we never replicated anywhere else.
With A Manual for Defeat we made the simplest record possible, which with a low budget worked out better than I could have imagined. We just rehearsed a lot and then cut things basically live to tape with as little overdubbing as we could get away with. The beauty of analog tape is that you instantly can tell on playback if you got something or not. I’m not really a tape or digital guy as it really depends on the project and who is helming the technical side of things. But for me the problem with digital is that you often don’t know what you have got until much later in the process. If you don’t have a lot of money there is no time to start over if you realize something wasn’t quite where it needs to be. Also just as a side note, dear God in heaven stay away from digital reverb.
I’m always afraid of making something middle of the road, although there have definitely been times when my best intentions have gone astray. I feel like you should either be trying to make Sgt. Pepper or The Misfit’s Static Age. By that I mean you should either be as ambitious as possible or you should just try to capture something raw and real. The universe will give you hints as to what route to take if you can get your ego out of the way. Often limitations, if shepherded down the right alley, will force you to be creative. It’s when you force things that aren’t meant to be that you get into trouble.
I’m working on my 7th record right now, as well as having worked on a whole host of other things such as soundtracks, demos, singles, EP’s, etc. I feel like only in the last two years have I got to a place where I sort of know what I’m doing, where I trust my instincts to be right more often than not. Although as I’m fond of saying: Time makes monkeys of us all.
And now for a brief moment of shameless self promotion: My band No Show Ponies will be playing two shows this Thursday during SXSW:
At Noon we will be doing a live TV Taping at South Austin Brewery.
At 10pm we will be playing at 10pm at Sam’s Town Point
More information to follow. In the meantime check out our new record, A Manual for Defeat, at http://www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com.
Well the human race keeps ticking
But I don’t know how
I’d have thought we’d have killed
Each other by now
Yet there’s more of us
Then there ever was before
I wouldn’t call it love
But it’s more powerful than war
There’s a creation myth
That some believe
Out of the Garden
God cast Adam and Eve
Which leads me to bring up
A dangerous rumor
I wouldn’t call it love
But God’s got a sense of humor
Got a map of the universe
And no illusions
I’m not looking for order
In all this confusion
I know there’s no reason
I know there’s no rhyme
Just the random chance
There’s someone out there tonight
My baby she likes chocolate
And strawberry wine
And astrology signs
I’m getting older now
But I still like them young
I wouldn’t call it love
But it’s only just begun
This is one of my favorite No Show Ponies songs I have ever written. It didnt make the current album, A Manual for Defeat, because we haven’t gotten the three piece arrangement right yet. But it will be on the next one for sure.
If you live in the Austin area tonight my band No Show Ponies is playing at One 2 One at 11:30pm. We’ll be playing songs off of our new album A Manual for Defeat and some songs we love by Lou Reed, David Bowie, Joe Strummer, and others as well.
I also would like to announce that No Show Ponies has begun working with Little Gotham Media. This is a company run by Shawn Christian Cochran, who is an old friend of ours. We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership.
In the future when all’s well…
Link to A Manual for Defeat: www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com
Link to Little Gotham Media’s FB page: www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Gotham-Media/436445623113554