Shipping now from Akashic Books: The Jesus Lizard “Book”, a biography of Chicago’s greatest postpunk band, suitable for coffee tables everywhere. Included is a section I wrote on the band’s early days at a show at the original Behind The Lookingglass space on South Michigan Avenue. Also included are contributions from Greg Dunlap, Doug McCombs, Steve Albini, Andy Gill, Mike Watt, Bob Nastanovich, Alexander Hacke, Steve Gullick, Rebecca Gates, Hank Williams III, Sasha Frere-Jones, and the incomparable Bernie Bahrmasel.
Archive for the 'Robwatch' Category
Last night was opening night for Redmoon Theater’s 2013 Winter Pageant. I wrote the original music for this indescribable show and my surf-noir band San Andreas Fault performs on stage as the proceedings unfold. Dozens of dancers, improbable and massive machinery, mind-roasting visual spectacle, mythmaking and birds. Oh man. The birds.
Opening night sold out; only nine shows left over two weekends.
Hats off to my brothers in the Fault, without whose power and commitment none of this music happens. Thymme Jones, John Cwiok and original gangsta Pete Muschong: thank you.
There are two bands that I’ve started and can’t seem to stop. And things are getting loud.
First, there’s SIRS: a Chicago-style noise-rock trio with traces of aggro pop that launched in 2008 with the release of the 7″ single Billy The Kidney on Unicut Records. In 2010, we released the 12″ Boo Hoo EP and performed around Chicago wherever and whenever possible.
In SIRS, I provide words and guitar, both noisy and absurd reflections on the late capitalist era. The team is rounded out by gentlemen/scholars Tony Jones (bass) and Shut Up Andy Kosinski (drums). There is a Chicago underground tradition of extra-large punk rattle plus high and low verse, a presentation established in the early Reagan era by giants such as The Effigies and Big Black, a shaft that SIRS still burrows. Which isn’t too surprising since the first Chicago band I started in high school – the Defoliants – was right behind those outfits.
SIRS is next week releasing our third record, High Minors, a 12″ longplayer that features guest appearances by John Haggerty (Naked Raygun, Pegboy) and Thymme Jones (Cheer-Accident, Dead Rider).
Because we exist, we find it useful to prove it every now and then. And so, SIRS is opening for the great Hugh Cornwell (Stranglers) in Chicago on December 18th 2013 at Reggies.
San Andreas Fault
I started the Fault in 1999 by building a small digital studio called Trailing Edge in a steel plant on Grand Avenue. The idea then was to work out my obsessions with surf, cowboy chords, classical composition and instrumental musics of the 1960s into a modern band. The result was a couple of CD singles, TV show and game soundtracks, and the 2003 LP Encantada, plus appearances onstage with guitar instrumental heroes Dick Dale and the late Link Wray. The Fault wound down in 2005, but was revived in 2012 when I came back together to work with Fault guitarist Pete Machine, going through an eight year backlog of my composition.
Word of this reached the legendary Redmoon Theater and the San Andreas Fault was asked to write the score for the 2013 Winter Pageant, running Dec. 13-22 2013 (10 shows only, two weekends only). I wrote about 12 pieces for this complete freakout of a show, set in Redmoon’s new 50,000 sq. ft. performance space — and we’re performing it live. Who’s we? Rob Warmowski (guitar) Pete Muschong (guitar) John Cwiok (bass) and Thymme Jones (drums).
The Fault is back online for scoring projects, and is now working with New York director Rebecca Rojer on a 2014 film that will draw on Chicago images that focus on the pernicious role that billionaire philanthropists and their foundations play in the “education reform” debate.
So check it out: The Chicago Reader asked me to interview legendary frontman David Yow (The Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid) in one of their “Artist on Artist” segments. See, Scratch Acid is on tour. And I’m in this band.
Of course pants were removed. Do you even have to ask? Shame on you for doubting.
The lastest in my personal disease management saga* concerning music:
Chris Kreb and I started a weird rock band called Sirs in 2008. Back then it was just the two of us, he on microphone and bullwhip, myself on guitar, bass and computer. We put out a 7″ called Billy The Kidney, then Chris moved to Germany. Around that time I started working with Tony Jones and Mike Greenlees, bringing some of the early material over. Sirs Mk II lasted until Mike was gently reminded of the existence of his three children. During the Mk II phase, we recorded an album’s worth of songs, then threw away half to leave an EP named Boo Hoo.
Boo Hoo was released yesterday on 12″ vinyl and download format. Check it out/buy it at sirs.bandcamp.com
Sirs Mk III remains a weird rock band and is comprised of Tony, myself and Shut Up Andy Kosinski on drums. If Andy’s got any kids, he don’t wanna know. We play next at Saki on Fullerton Ave in Chicago this Saturday at 6PM.
* For most people who stick with making original aggressive electric music, the effect on one’s life is akin to that of a disease. Lots of hassle, lots of special arrangements, compulsions, technical requirements and the need for a bottomless well of understanding from loved ones. It’s not comparable to a disease in the sense that the payoff is awesome: certain thrills can only be felt by building and presenting big sounds. But for the other 97% of the life lived in between the payoff, this type of self-expression is profoundly similar to, oh, diabetes. A lifelong condition that needs managing.
I wrote some stuff in this, and the whole thing is funny, so buy it.
They call it a coffee table book, but I’ve never been able to fit a coffee table in the bathroom.
Mike Greenlees – Drums
Tony Jones – Bass
Rob Warmowski – Guitar, Vocals
We just finished our first record. Thymme Jones of Cheer-Accident manned the board*. We recorded it in a basement in Humboldt Park, and hot damn, some of it is just stellar if I do say so myself. Thanks Thymme! Website here, tracks below.
Boo Hoo – In what will probably be the title track of the record, the Greenlees/Jones duopoly tends impeccably to business while I put a guitar slide on the wrong hand and commence to some improbable hijinks. Lyrical quasi-inspiration: the crybaby visible at the 7:00 mark of this clip of Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary Right America Feeling Wronged.
Five Minutes – I’m not expecting Dorothy Parker, but you don’t spell “you” with the letter u.
Illegal Criminal Crimes (Against The Law) – In a post-Rumsfeldian world, giving executives the teaching moments they deserve becomes a greater and greater challenge. Features a two-note solo that Mike called akin to “Robert Slipp”. Original title was “Felony Illegal Criminal Crimes (Against The Law)”, but I changed it because that would be stupid.
A debut gig at Quencher’s is up for this Thursday, kind of early. Shows will be rare. Sorry if that sounded like a threat.
*board in this case meaning the Roland VS-2400 integrated DAW. I gotta say, I’ve heard worse channel preamps.
I play a Telecaster and blurt things in a loud, noisy rock band with Mike Greenlees (ex-Tar) and Tony Jones (ex-Sixteen Tons). We’re called Sirs. Our first show has been lined up in Chicago on April 8th, 2010. It’s a benefit to raise funds for nearby Goethe Elementary School, whose financial woes are not limited to the problem of having run out of copies of Faust For Kids. They’re a fine, deserving educational institution and badly need your dollars – and Sirs is willing to trade the rock for them. We want you there. For further info the show, sign up for the Sirs email list right here:
Confidential to Tar fans: You might notice the name of the school and put two and two together…
You can’t make up this stuff. Mary Matalin, weathered GOP strategist casually lets it slip that life on the Republican national campaign trail is a great place for a gal to get smacked in the mouth – and that’s just dandy with her.
Congrats to Rio De Janiero for acing out Chicago for the 2016 games. Check out a new humor piece on True/Slant: 8 Reasons Chicago Lost The 2016 Olympics
I saw a video clip this morning where a stunned Jesse Jackson interviewed in the downtown location of the embarrassing non-party lamented that we had “sent our A-Team – the Mayor, the Governor, Oprah” yet it made “no difference.”
Yeah, I bet it made a difference.