Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Torture Never Stops

These are via my lovely wife, who should probably have her own blog (but who the fuck has the time?).

First, a Vaseline commercial, banned in the US. Banned, of course, because it dares to show that ugly, sinful, oh-so-dirty crime-against-nature otherwise known as the human body. True, it's all blurry and quick, and it skips over the genuinely naughty bits, but so what? Think of the children!

(Honestly, there are times when I just don't get this country.)

Second, a little item that is circulating about 24, a show I alternately love and hate. According to Entertainment Weekly (a rag I never, ever read, ever), "several military and FBI interrogators, together with HRF [Human Rights First] officials and the dean of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point [Patrick Finnegan]" met with the team behind the show to discuss the effects of 24's apparent obsession with torture scenes. One military guy claimed that "field soldiers often ignore the Geneva Conventions by routinely employing torture techniques learned from TV [...]" Jane Mayer in the New Yorker (in an article that is disturbing for many reasons) reports that, according to Finnegan, "it had become increasingly hard to convince some cadets that America had to respect the rule of law and human rights, even when terrorists did not. One reason for the growing resistance, he suggested, was misperceptions spread by 24, which was exceptionally popular with his students. As he told me, 'The kids see it, and say, "If torture is wrong, what about 24?"'" EW again: Howard Gordon (the show's executive producer) "recently shot an educational video for HRF to remind cadets that 24 should be viewed as entertainment -- not as a field guide."

Huuuhhhh? Again, Daphne must be credited for raising the key question (and I paraphrase): if these cadets cannot tell the difference between television and reality, then what the fuck are they doing at West Point?

(Honestly, there are times... oh, wait, I'm repeating myself.)

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Thanks to KT, I can now share with you some of the aforementioned NY press pertaining to our east coast tour. Here ya go: one doohickey in the Village Voice, and two wangdoodles in Time Out NY. Click to enlarge.

Thanks, Kris!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Oh yeah, and

Forgot to mention: I'll be chatting on the air today with Mary Burlingame of KMHD (Gresham, Oregon). 4 PM. Can you catch it on the web? Of course you can!

[Update: What a pleasure it was to do this interview. It's not often that someone in the media "gets" the group more or less immediately, but Mary clearly did. We're very lucky to have her in our corner. Plus, she was a delightful lady. Plus, it was raining like a motherfucker when I arrived (up until this past week, winter-in-PDX has been fairly dry -- bad news for a precipitation junkie like me.)]

There goes the neighborhood

So as I prepare for the IJG PNW debut (March 7/8), I thought I would pass along the following notes.

1. Portland's own Tim DuRoche has a killer blog, Occasional Jazz Conjectures. DuRoche, until recently the go-to jazz writer for the Willamette Week, Portland's sexiest alterna-paper, is also (among other things) a very groovy, solid, well-informed drummer (I heard him play some pretty funky free jazz with Phillip Greenlief back in October). His writing (like his playing) is what I would call "refreshingly old-school." Item: check out the post entitled "WWWBD?" (as in "What Would Whitney Balliett Do?" -- Balliett being the fella who coined the apposite phrase "the sound of surprise" to describe Louis Armstrong's music); it's a kind of homage to the recently-departed critic. Thanks to the aforementioned Mr. Greenlief, Tim is one of the first cats I met upon moving to PDX; I sincerely hope I can rope him into an Industrial Jazz gig at some point.

2. Speaking of the Willamette Week, here's the blog that collects or references much of their music writing. Without a dedicated jazz person on the roster, it seems a little incomplete to me (although it looks like the intrepid Jason Simms will be stepping up to that particular bat, as I hope to demonstrate soon), but I have nevertheless been enjoying poking through the entries a bit. It's a nice coinkydink, especially in light of the recent conversations we west-coasters have been having about comedy and music, that one of the first pieces I stumbled over was this one about some dude named Michael Rockstar. Actually, a little cursory web-searching suggests that Mr. Rockstar's take on music and comedy isn't exactly my cup o' tea, but I did perk up when I read this question from Amy McCullough: "How is Portland a better fit for a musical comedian than the epicenter of entertainment [L.A.]?" And MR's answer: "I feel like it’s a better fit than L.A. because it’s younger, newer, more open minded. People don’t feel like everything’s been done here like they do in L.A. or New York. They are still open to freshness; they’re more open to the sort of thing I’m doing because they perceive it as fun or quirky, rather than lame or over." Indeed. Veddy interesting...

3. Bathtubs! Nothing but bathtubs!

4. Last night, as I struggled to fight off my second cold of 07, I made my way over to the Musicians Union to catch a little bit of the Rob Scheps Big Band rehearsal. A good percentage of the folks who were present are going to take the plunge with the IJG book in a few weeks, and I wanted to take the opportunity to meet them before we had any sort of proper rehearsal. So in addition to Rob (who I had already met) I got to shake hands with saxophonists Gary Harris, Scott Hall, and Dave Valdez; trumpeters Matt Carr and Garner Pruitt; trombonists Stan Bock and Tom Hill; and drummer Ward Griffiths. All of these folks are going to be on the IJG shows on March 7/8 (can I plug these gigs any more shamelessly, I wonder?), and thank heavens for that -- I have already described Scheps as a motherfucker, and surely you know that motherfuckers tend to associate with other motherfuckers. To put it less obscenely, this band is extremely good -- a fact that was clear even though (or perhaps because) they were reading their way through some truly byzantine Ed Neumeister charts (I was particularly taken with a jaw-dropping arrangement of "E.S.P.").

This subbing-out-the-entire-band-except-for-the-comparatively-financially-secure-Jill thing is turning out to be a very interesting and exciting experience, though on some weird level it feels vaguely like cheating. It also feels vaguely insane.

One index of a quality big band: they sound bitchen even when they're sitting down.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hard to believe...

...but this Residents performance (a kooky version of Elvis' "Teddy Bear") actually took place on network television in the maddeningly conservative late-1980s. On a show hosted by David Sanborn, no less. That's right, I'm talking about Night Music -- a show I relished as a kid.

Take my advice and YouTube the fuck out of this one (use the search terms "night music david sanborn" for best results). Great performances by Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, Nick Cave, Kronos Quartet, Sonny Rollins -- and that's just the first page!

For chrissakes, when is someone going to come along and release this stuff on DVD?

What, we ask, is life / Without a touch of poetry in it?

One of the challenges in raising a kid is in knowing when to put the brakes on and when to just let go. It's a constant struggle. F'r'instance: do I let her keep walking along that wall? It's only a few feet high. But she could slip at a weird angle and seriously hurt herself. But she's pretty surefooted, and has walked along there many times before. Yes, but the wall is covered with wet leaves and is therefore very dangerous. But if you constantly hover over her, she's gonna grow up afraid of everything. Hmmm. Bach had a million kids. What would he have done in this situation?

I'll admit that when it comes to the physical stuff I really have to fight the urge to say "Be careful!" every few minutes. I'm getting better, but it takes a conscious effort for me to bite my tongue. When it comes to exposing Thandie to art, however, I tend to go all out. I listen to a lot of music around the house, and haven't yet felt the urge to shield the kid from anything that other parents might deem (for themselves, let alone for their young 'uns) too dissonant, too rhythmically complex, too texturally weird, or whatever. It's all fair game, even the occasional Zappa tune with a raunchy lyric (after all, who better than a kid to appreciate the humor in a song about yellow snow?).

So yes, in my bombastically self-appointed job as the Durkin-Robinson "Minister of Culture," I have a hard time figuring out where the boundary line for a two-and-a-half-year old should be. But I feel that it's better to err on the side of a bit "too much," rather than opting for the total bowdlerization that seems to characterize "kids' culture" nowadays. And so things like the very PG ending to The Iron Giant tend to get through.

And so do things like Joseph Papp's 1980 production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance. Not that that one is terribly violent or inappropriate, though there is a fair amount of swashbuckling to be had. Still, it's a far cry from some of the monumentally bland stuff that has recently been passing as art-for-tots (I'm lookin' at you, Dan Zanes). When I finally got my hands on the DVD of the Central Park performance, it was more to satisfy a fond yearning for a specific childhood musical experience -- Pirates was the first "show" I ever saw, and, I believe, the first recording I ever owned -- rather than from any expectation that Thandie would be walking through our house singing songs from the score (which she is).

Halloween 2006.

(Lest you think Pirates is some sort of half-baked Broadway crap -- well, it isn't. I look at Gilbert and Sullivan as older siblings to Oscar Wilde, and as great grandfathers to Monty Python. In any case, there are few other places in the annals of musical theater where you will find as wicked a parody of the human proclivity (developed into an art by the Victorians) for kowtowing before vague and stupid abstractions like "nationalism" and "social convention." The irreverence inherent in the work makes it all the more ironic that there is such a thing as a Gilbert and Sullivan "purist," and that a bunch of 'em protested Papp's version, which included wonderful re-arrangements by the mysterious William Elliott. Elliott -- who died young and whose web presence is frustratingly thin -- gave the music the punch of a rock opera, without (I think) detracting from any of the charm of Arthur Sullivan's original score.)

Ah, parenthood. We have good friends who seem positively addicted to the latest genre of reality TV, which usually comes embedded in a "news" broadcast of some kind: you know, the voyeuristic and creepy "To Catch a Predator" phenomenon. At the same time they seem hell-bent on bathing their own kid in an ocean of baby talk and impossibly happy music. I see these two things as connected somehow: it may be that my generation had such a conflicted experience of childhood (we were the first postwar "latchkey kids," after all), and have become so attuned to all of the horrible things that can (supposedly) happen to shorties (Hey, would you like a razor blade with that apple?), that we have overcompensated by attempting to put our own children into some sort of emotional mylar. And to make matters worse we seem compelled to go on feeding our anxieties, instead of overcoming them.

Anna Quindlen really nailed this problem in a recent essay. One of the more relevant quotes from that piece: "A life of unremitting caution, without the carefree -- or even, occasionally, the careless -- may turn out to be half a life, like the Bible with the Ten Commandments but no Song of Solomon or Sermon on the Mount." I suppose one could paraphrase that insightful statement with the Gilbert lyric quoted in the title of this post. Or, as Quindlen, quoting Oscar Wilde, puts it later in the same essay: "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

* * * * *

Incidentally, the always-entertaining Jeff Knapp recently posted a hilarious parody of the parody: Gilbert and Sullivan's "Baby Got Back."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hilarity ensues

[Note: for some reason, YouTube, which has never given me a problem before, isn't allowing me to put up the video that is the subject of this post (or perhaps things are just slow and it is going to publish all my post-attempts several hours from now). The result is a somewhat less elegant blog entry than I would have liked... ah well.]

So a few of us have had comedy on the brain for the last few days (though others of us always have comedy on the brain, alas) -- but even if that wonderful discussion had never happened I probably would have been compelled to post this, easily the funniest moment on the funniest show currently on television. Thanks you, Ricky Gervais.

"I imagined what it would be like being a wizard, and then I pretended and acted in that way." Hoo-wee! Imagine if McKellan had pulled out that gem during his recent interview with professional blowhard Charlie Rose!

One of the things that really sets Extras apart is that it is depressing and funny all at once -- the bits (which don't always look funny on paper) have a dependable capacity for inducing squeamishness. But wasn't it Charles Schulz (a man who struggled with depression all his life) who said that happiness isn't funny?

Oh yeah, can't wait until American television gets ahold of this one and turns it into a pale boring shell of itself.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Now for something completely different...

For reasons too complicated to explain here, I was recently reminded of this damned story, penned by me over ten years ago now. In fact, I think I wrote it shortly after my move to Los Angeles, while I was still nursing the wounds left by the breakup of my NJ band, the Evelyn Situation (up until that point the highlight of my artistic life). I was trying on an academic persona, and in the days after completing this thing I think I also was flirting very heavily with the notion of becoming a short story writer. As we all know, that didn't last -- I got sick of academia almost immediately, fell bass-ackwards into jazz and somehow ended up starting the group that is now my life's work. But I still have a fondness for this piece of writing (indebted as it is to my beloved Donald Barthelme), and not just because it roughly corresponded with the first months spent dating the woman who would eventually become my wife (no, the events contained herein are not autobiographical -- at least not entirely).

Anyway, here it is, in all its amateurish glory.

* * * * *

Violent Love

“I want to make violent love / To you ‘neath the moon above / I want to make violent love to you.”

-- Willie Dixon

The first night we made love, she bit her lip. It was nothing serious, really; we had just gotten down to our underwear (I hadn't seen a bra up close in years and hers was frayed at the edges, but that was okay, it accented her daring nature) when I inadvertently tickled her somehow and she bumped her chin against my shoulder and that's how it happened. I paused apologetically. At first she wanted to keep going but then she asked me to look at it, pulling the flap of pink skin down and making a face like a large-mouthed bass. I had to put my glasses on (the ugly, horn-rimmed ones; the only pair I own) to peer in at the cut, which was oozing a tiny dab of blood.

“I think it's okay,” I said, “but maybe we should go into the bathroom to be sure.” She thought that was a good idea, and after a close inspection, agreed that the injury was of little significance.

“It still stings, though,” she said. I offered her a band-aid but she turned it down. We decided to finish our lovemaking without the kissing. It was tough but we managed.

* * * * *

The next time, we were at my place, and I was a bit more prepared, a bit more wary of my own awkward physical bearing (I was still out of practice, after all). I wanted to prevent the occurrence of a similar incident. While licking one of my nipples, she accidentally knocked a hardcover copy of Anna Karenina off the coffee table and it landed with an unpleasant thud on my big toe.

She looked up at me, concern in her eyes, but I smiled weakly and waved it away, trying to get her to continue with her tongue. She did, for a few moments, but then the pain in my toe grew too great to ignore. We stopped and I removed the thin argyle sock. The toe was faintly purplish, like a tumescent grape. She dashed off into the kitchen, wearing only that dark blue tank top of hers, the one with the small hole in it (a moth, no doubt), and returned with a dishpan nearly full of ice and water, commanding me to immerse the injured foot. The cold was almost more painful than the bruise, but we both knew that there was no better way to keep the swelling down. After I was settled, she climbed back on top of me and we resumed our activity, the ice water sloshing with our movement.

The following Friday we both got out of work early, went to a twilight showing of Bonnie and Clyde, returned to my apartment, got changed into our on-the-town ensembles (I was stunned as she produced a black sequined gown from out of her old blue backpack), and then went to dinner at a fancy seafood place she had read about.

As it turned out, the third time we made love was in the ladies’ bathroom there, in the very last stall. She kicked off her shoes and hopped up onto the tampon dispenser, which was kind of narrow, so I had to use the pressure of my body to keep her there, and she had to put her feet against the opposite wall to give me a little leverage.

I should mention at this point that we're not skinny people. We like to eat and had just finished two whole lobsters between us, plus two slices of German chocolate cake, a Caesar’s salad, some bread, some cream of mushroom soup and a bottle of wine. Even so, we never expected the stall to topple over. She was licking my ear when it happened, but there was no denying the heavy metallic sound the end partition made when it hit the hard tile floor (the toilet, thank god, remained solidly in place).

“Are you hurt?” I groaned, trying my best to get off her.

“It's not too painful, but just painful enough,” she returned, wincing a bit, crawling out of the capsized stall, and grabbing her shoes. I tried to follow but immediately found that my left hand was useless.

“Hold on,” she said, grabbing my collar and dragging me to safety. I stood, but my hand, which was either sprained or broken, wouldn't quit its stabbing pain, and so she had to help pull my pants up.

“What about you? How bad is it?” I asked her as she was zipping my fly. She looked down at her side and observed out loud that she may have smashed a rib or two. We decided to get going before someone became suspicious.

Later, in the emergency room, I tried to take my mind off the pain and worry and guilt by reading Sports Illustrated (a special hockey issue). I had learned from a hulking RN that my hand was indeed broken in several places. He set the cast and told me to come back to see the doctor in a week, but I stayed in the waiting room while my girlfriend had her ribs looked at. I nervously asked the people at the desk how she was.

“She'll be fine,” said one of them, in between bites of a tuna sandwich. “Two fractured ribs; she needs to take it easy but the doctor says she can go home tonight.”

Half an hour later she came out with her backpack, showing me the bandage (exposing her navel, I had to kiss that, but ever so delicately), and asking to see my cast.

“How long will you need it?” she inquired.

“About a month. How are you?”

“It doesn't feel too bad. Luckily no organs were hurt, and the whole thing should heal pretty quick,” she said valiantly, as we walked out to the car.

* * * * *

Here was what happened the next four times: first she dislocated her shoulder (that was when we did it in the back seat of my Nissan Sentra), then I got poison ivy (we were returning to nature, a recurring fantasy of mine), then she got the flu (outside again, one particularly damp and rainy night), then I broke my leg (she wanted me to wear her fishnets and stiletto heels, and, being a good sport, I did, although it didn't really do much for me; afterwards, I was thirsty, and, without stripping, headed to the kitchen for some apple juice, but when I got to the top of the stairs one of the damned heels broke and down I went). It was a bit overwhelming.

After some soul-searching, I wrote her a long letter saying how I had never wanted to hurt her but how it always seemed to happen anyway, accidentally, and that maybe (I sighed) she'd be better off without me. I delivered this to her when she was laid up in bed for the second time that month (a mild case of food poisoning--I had purchased the chocolates at a reputable place and we both thought they looked and tasted great but for some reason they made her sick). She gently kissed my bandaged eye (an accident with her vibrator) then read the letter carefully, leaning over in her bathrobe, running her hands through her unwashed hair.

When she was done, she looked up, her eyes misting a little. Then she reached into the nightstand drawer and showed me that she had already written a letter of her own, which, I soon discovered, communicated more or less the same thing.

Needless to say, we were both crushed.

* * * * *

We agreed to separate amicably -- maybe something about the moment was wrong, we thought -- and to see what happened in a few months, or perhaps a year. I quickly became miserable, feeling that somehow I had been jinxed by my animal nature, cheated out of the only relationship that had ever actually meant something to me. Life became tedious. Other women expressed interest in dating me; they were pleasant enough, I had to admit, but what of it? They hardly had her panache, her enthusiasm, her zest for… life. Ah, what was the use! She was gone, and she wasn't coming back; we were both probably a lot healthier, and that was the main thing.

At least that was what my friend Albert said. Albert, who owned a collection of guns, was basically telling me to forget her. He came over to my apartment one night, balancing a stack of action movies: "Come on, nothing like a little gratuitous violence to take your mind off that business." Thinking a change of pace might do me some good, I succumbed. The evening went like this: Arnold Schwarzenneger was falling through the exhaust of a jet place, then he was pulling shards of hot iron from his chest, then (as the Terminator) he was getting his arms and legs torn off, and still he wouldn't die.

"No," I thought, fed-up and peevish, "I just can't forget about her."

* * * * *

After three agonizing months I lost my patience and decided to take a cab across town to her apartment. All I really wanted was to see how she was; I promised myself I wouldn't push for any more than that, although when I smelled the familiar scent of her neighborhood, my resolve weakened a bit.

I thought perhaps I should turn back. Still, I couldn't go away without at least saying hello, so I went up to the old brick building and rang the bell. She answered, looking as beautiful as ever (if a bit more cautious) in raggedy dungarees and red kneepads. At first she seemed surprised to see me, but then she invited me in, waving her arms and talking excitedly, and offering me a glass of apple juice, which I bravely accepted.

"Your nose! It's healed!" she said affectionately, adjusting her glasses.

"Yeah, it's amazing what a little plastic surgery can do. And I see your chicken pox left no scars."

“Well, just one,” she said, smiling and dragging me by the hand into her spacious living room. “But look what I've taken up since.”

The sofa and chairs and television had been pushed together in the middle of the hardwood floor and there beside them was a mess of boxes, some open, some closed. "I was planning to give you a call. I got you something." She grabbed one of the boxes and offered it to me. Inside was a set of very treacherous-looking rollerblades.

"I hope they're the right size. There's some protective gear in that other box."

As she talked, she strapped on a dark blue helmet. I didn't know what to say. I had heard of the dangers of rollerblading. I looked down at the box, trying to picture myself in a Mountain Dew commercial.

"That's… really… fantastic. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Uh, I guess I'll see you in the park sometime?"

Sitting on the floor, pulling on some heavy green socks, she paused. "Of course you'll see me in the park. But you don't understand."

"Understand what?" I asked.

“I think we ought to get back together,” she explained, turning to her own pair of rollerblades and lacing them up. “That is, if you want to.” Standing, she pushed off and began moving slowly about the room, tracing an oval around me and the boxes and the island of furniture, the skates humming along the hardwood floors. She was good, and I had to keep up a slow pirouette to maintain eye contact. I got a little dizzy.

“Yes, there is a certain amount of risk involved,” she said, raising her voice a little over the sound of the hard plastic wheels, “and maybe we would only end up hurting each other again, perhaps even worse than before (although that, I think, is highly improbable). Anyway, we’re wiser now. Life is too damned short anyway and as long as we are careful, and take precautions, we can't be blamed for the fact that it is also risky.”

Having said this she rolled right over to me and made a pretty damned good stop, for an amateur. We immediately fell into an embrace, she accidentally bumping my chin with her helmet and I accidentally scratching her face with my beard.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Heeeeeere's Louis!

Yup, that there is a mugshot of the latest creature to take up residence at the Durkin-Robinson flophouse.

Why did he move in?

1. Because his original owners are relocating from Portland to Italy and can't afford to take him.

2. Because our lives aren't crazy enough already.

Seriously, though, he's probably the sweetest dog I have ever met. I guess his disposition has something to do with him being a Lab-Mastiff mix who is 3 years old and already housebroken. He was named for Joe Louis, but that's sorta ironic, cuz he's definitely a lover, not a fighter (I'm thinking Louis Armstrong might be a better namesake).

In any case, he's definitely a keeper.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Square one, and square one again

Hopefully this'll be the last of the navel-gazing posts for a while (I can barely resist commenting on the ludicrous recent statements of the ashen senator from AZ).

First, a few new reviews of Go Go!: A lovely one here, courtesy of Brad Glanden, and another nice one (by Jim Santella) in Cadence. Since the Cadence piece is not online, allow me to excerpt: Santella writes that the IJG "has a finely-tuned sense of humor. They combine pure mainstream Jazz with comical interludes: each, a highly creative composition from pianist Andrew Durkin. They like to think of their work as a combination of Jazz, R&B, Soul, Gospel, Mariachi, Doo Wop, Salsa, Reggae, and Rock ‘n Roll. But, it’s the improvised Avant-Garde solos that give the session its steam. [...] The band’s highly unique performance resembles a merging of Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy with the World Saxophone Quartet [...] Highly recommended for its originality, swing, spontaneity and original groove, the Industrial Jazz Group stands the test of time. Long after I've finished listening to the album several times for review, I can’t help smiling about it." Well, alright.

We also had some nice press specifically related to our east coast tour, but like a dummy I neglected to collect it. F'r'instance, I'm told there was a nice thing in the Village Voice, but I never saw it (if anyone did, I'd be very curious as to the content).

Oh yeah, and this just in: Andrey Henkin's overview of the Bowery Poetry Club show can be found here. Henkin has become a trusted ally in recent months (and, small world, turns out he is an ex-colleague of my friend and former grad school classmate, Joan Jastrebski, who was also at the BPC show). He is of course right when he says we're "more Carla Bley than Count Basie" -- though I find this observation somewhat humorous given the fact that I dropped our Joe Williams "tribute" ("Every Day I Have The Blues, Too") from the set a few hours before the first hit of the tour.

Anyway, on to the future. This week I was preoccupied with the task of organizing things for our next set of dates (March 7 and 8 in Portland and Seattle, respectively). This should be easy, right? We just came off a burning east coast tour, the band is white-hot and ready to go, right? Right!

Wait a minute! What's this? Lo and behold, I depleted my entire budget making the east coast tour happen (not complaining here, just stating the facts, m'am). So it actually turns out that for the upcoming northwest hootenannies (hottenanni?), I can't afford to bring any of the usual suspects up from LA. That's right -- I'm gonna have to do these dates with a brand-freakin'-new band.

(I should clarify. "Depleted my budget" suggests that I spent all of the money I have. What I actually did was spend a lot of money that I don't yet have. But again, I'm not complaining.)

(I should clarify further. A "brand-freakin'-new band" suggests that I only have to recruit one such monster. What I have actually discovered is that, notwithstanding the willingness of certain of the Portland musicians I have engaged (and perhaps most crucially, the rhythm section -- thanks, guys!) to travel to Seattle on March 8, most of the rest of 'em (understandably -- who the hell is this Andrew Durkin, anyway?) are a little hesitant. The upshot? For all intents and purposes, I have to put together two "brand-freakin'-new bands.")

In a sense, this turn of events might be a good thing; if nothing else, it will provide a nice test of the quality of the music. (I wonder: is the humor respresented by "Fuck the Muck" translatable to an entirely different set of musical personalities? We shall see.)

Update: as it happens, I'll be "borrowing" most of Rob Scheps' big band (for the PDX gig anyway). I'll have more to say about this configuration as things develop, but for now I have to give mad mad props to Rob (a motherfucker if there ever was one, currently out on tour with the Village Vanguard band), who has given me an extremely valuable crash course in the northwest scene (let's face it, I've been hiding up here until now).

More to come.