Here's Your Goddamn Context

First of all, this isn’t a “Kiss and Tell.” It’s some context. Some context is all that is available because when I’m working on the record, mostly its simply ideas that are executed. Mid-sleep ideas. Ideas from train rides. Ideas that don’t make sense but are worth a try. Little man in a top hat telling you what to do.

Artistic planning is quite minimal for me. Bigger themes are present, but mostly it’s work-work-work until I’m dead tired of the project. Then done. The “big themes” that are utilized here came from BDW and Ritchie-Scratchy: Battle of good vs. evil and passing the baton, respectively.

Mostly though, I like sounds. I like juxtaposition. And, mostly, I have this desire to make shit (as some have noticed). I couldn’t make a poppy song to save my hide. But, periodically, I have to unload the sounds and ideas in my head and it becomes a record (gotta reduce your backlog sometimes). This one is called Free Milk Seminar. Why is it called Free Milk Seminar? Because, sometime ten years ago I said that phrase on a tape as what could be a good album name. And, I was right.

Bored yet?

Anyway, some context. This is a good exercise (mostly to demonstrate that this gibberish is powerfully meaningful or without meaning in entirety – that still remains a secret). But, it helps the post-record depression nonetheless.

.01 - So, Free Milk opens with a track called “Butterflies.”

Is it obvious what this is about? Maybe. ‘Butterflies’ refers to both the fluttering synthesizer sound(s) that I present and to the B -- a butterfly fully emerging from a cocoon.

The sample layers are: two (three?) synthesizer tracks, a recording of B in her class among her peers, B and I playing drums (or dropping stuff and humming into a snare drum), and assorted other snippets, recordings, and sounds (backlog that fits and some deliberate insidery stuff).

It’s the set-up track. I’ve always favored the set-up track to an album, often I bookend an album with these contextual statements. Setting up the tone, space, and notions have been the way I’ve provided context. If the listener couldn’t get through the set-up, then the albums probably not for them. I guess I’ve been arrogant.

.02 - “Three Wise Men” is based purely on the demented ramblings of these three black interpreters of the bible. I was clicking around the TeeVee one night and through the beauty of public access TeeVee, I found these guys. They were satisfyingly riffing on the messages in the bible. Dressed in some sort of hocus-pocus bible meets medieval faire. Mostly they riff on how the bible foretells of Jesus coming back as a “big, giant, black man!” Just on and on without mercy. I loved it. I taped it. I knew that I had to build a record around them. Without these guys, this album would have never begun when it did.

Classic dialog, man. I started there and built everything else around the sermon. Including the noodling (hnad fishing) and such. So, after hours of fiddling and recasting, this so-called song emerged. G-Love loop, DPEP loop, more TeeVee madness, Hillary Clinton, and more. Then one day, I got out the guitar out and played along a few times. And, I happened to be recording (hurray for me). If I do say so, it’s interesting. Oh and the prog synths @ 4:30 came to me in the middle of the night. I've always wanted to do the Gary Numan prog synth thing. I almost forgot about adding ‘em. It’s buried, but one can just make ‘em out.

“Three Wise Men” was originally going to be the entire album. About 20-25 minutes of this shit. But, even I couldn’t take that.

.03 - “Mexican Jelly” (no meaning of title except I thought of the words "Mexican" and "Jelly" around the same time). Simply a presentation vehicle for a found archive recording from a tKoL rehearsal session; looped and recast. What’s best is most artists would never use such a track given that it is mostly ambient noise. I EQ’d it to make it work this well, but it’s not easy to the ears at all.

I love that groove and the tempo changes though. It’s one of those times where Rich and I were very locked and just jammed easily. Most cuts are fairly clean. The guitar work is splendid. The drumming smooth. Simple as that.

Obviously, we recorded so many hours of our rehearsals for a reason: future gifting. This could have never been heard again.

.04 - Same thing with “Judge Stolen.” Old (short-lived) Judge Brennan re-mixes. Simply, recast with a 2007 spin. Remixes of sounds, shapes, and snippets. I did add several layers and feelings, in particular, the guitar bridge. Yes, “Satan is our enemy.” Good vs. evil. Second track with religious subtext. Remember, everything happens for a reason…they say. Dylan Kennett (makes an appearance), Velvet Lounge improv show returns.

These two recasts deliberately follow “Three Wise Men” because the new blends with the old to complete my recollection. Some of these sounds are so precious to me; I just don’t want them lost.

B, fart jokes, sex sounds. Societal commentary. Farce and not. That's how you round out a track: fart jokes and sex sounds.

.05 - “Homer Jones.” Several things: Snippet (short loop) of song form B’s kid album (like 8 seconds worth), add drum loop, add other instruments, add Joe fucking “Hit Man” Biden interview. Kids awwwing, etc. Funny, little, hooky track. Add some some old poetry from airport observation (return of “I can see through knots.”
“Here lies Homer Jones; he likes xylophones.”

.06 - “Stupid Corporate Bullshit.” So, when you’re bored in your office job and you’re on a conference call with participants 1,000 miles away what do you do? You realize it’s such bullshit that you record it because nobody would ever believe the Dilbert-esque bullshit that people try to pass off as not only serious, but fucking important. Like genius and important.

Add some lonesome guitar fiddling(s) and it becomes a juxtaposition between what we HAVE to do and what we WANT to do. The mind numbing vs. the mind-expanding. Only one can win. “Cost savings” by the way are what cost me my stupid corporate bullshit job. But, my mind is free.

This shit gets no more than three minutes. Asinine.

.07 - “Mister Weems” has already been classified an “instant classic.”B ’s breakout song. The audio is from a video B and I made based on a story by Mark Reed. I’ll edit and post the video someday soon (in fact, I could make a career editing B/Ty video). “Let it Rain” was the phrase we popularized (screamed at the TeeVee) from t2007 he Super Bowl (tm). That phrase was shouted throughout the first half and during Prince’s amazing halftime show.

But, in this video we were really hammin’ it up – shamelessly. Thus, B’s breakout.

Why the Who “Eyesight to the Blind”? Shit. That’s the most obvious answer on the record. I pitched it back because Daltry’s vocals are so whiney. We’ve got soul in the kingdom. She brings eyesight to the blind. Duh! Her daddy gave her magic.

Just added some ornamentation to the track and was done.

Oh, and I got this this morning:

Finally someone is bringing the plight of Mr. Weems and his trip "down town" to people's attention:

On Saturday, March 17, 2007 at 1:22 am, TFC Koch stopped a green Ford Probe for an equipment violation on Rt. 246 in Lexington Park. TFC Koch observed the driver, Clarnzett P. Weems, 25, of Lusby, throw something out the passenger window. During the course of the traffic stop, a check of Mr. Weems' driver's license revealed his driving privileges are suspended in Maryland. Mr. Weems was arrested for possession of a CDS smoking device and driving on a suspended license. He was transported to the St. Mary's County
Detention Center pending a bond review."


See. It all makes sense.

.08 - “Freak Helly Smellish Zone” or whatever it’s called is very much a classic tKoL rehearsal tape. Priceless banter, stupidity, insider stories, and good playing. “We don’t use chords…. We use hieroglyphs.” I mean, what the fuck? That all just shat out of our asses while tape rolled. Plus, there’s some beautiful performance interactions and recognition. It’s a swell improv session.

Then I played wah-wah guitar along. I hope this didn’t ruin it. But, I was trying to express my gratitude (evil) of the great recording (good). “This is how we got to this part!” Genius.

I don’t know where the 9:36 rock-out shit came from. But, I’ve always been a closet rock hag.

.09 - “Rain’s Blues” is just an expansion of a rainy day poem set to guitar and thunder. Couldn’t stand my vocals so I distorted it. I do like the second guitar sound and execution though. Mostly one-hit/one-take shit. "I wonder if I can make a blues song?"

Drain all the water
Get your self a fire extinguisher
Call the paramedics
‘Cuz I need my stomach pumped

Running down under the ground
Where it’s still last season
Consumed by filthy-filth consumption

Yes, I do see the elephants in the clouds
It’s a necessary part of doing business

Hilarity, hilarity
Hilarity on impact
Thank you voodoo Jesus

We have the power to veto our urges
And then veto our vetoes

From pasty shins
Bruise leftovers
Plunging necklines
Goose bumps

It’s still winter…in the shade
It’s winter in the shade

“I got it”

So, there you have it. I’m glad to be able to make this make sense to you.



So, historically I've never cared to share any context to an art project. Photo, design, didn't matter. Why? Art diva. That's why. If you couldn't understand the hidden, true, or philosophical meanings, then that's not my fault.

Well, that's immature thinking. And after some backing and forting with DaveWave, I've decided to give something a try. I'm going to try to provide a contextual sketch to Free Milk Seminar. I do not know if it will be complete (enough) or even make more sense than the album, but I can at least try to provide a sense as to purpose and to what I hear.

Stay tuned. I'll start later today.

Oh, and don't count on this exercise to move backwards through history. It's not like I'm going to try to unlock the secrets of One Fine Ride. No way.


Finishing the Record

So, this is how you know your album's done: you're already over it. Tired of it and anything else is a negative return on your investment.

Is it perfect? Nope. Nothing ever is (at least at this budget). It is what it is.

But, what Free Milk Seminar is is the last installment of the Maryland Trilogy (the Old Line State Trilogy). What this means is the paradigm shifts again. These three served dual purposes (accomplished) and is now behind us all. Thanks for hanging in there, all, through TTBOTT and through The M.O.D. too.

There are some solid hints about the shift in paradigm contained within Free Milk. One big one is: guitar. I really enjoyed playing the guitar on this one and hope that I can use that as the basis for future projects. So, whatever. I'm probably done for the year.

Enjoy and let me know if it makes any sense to you.

Mixed for headphones and whatnot.

I Heart Dennis

Oh, and you all ask "why" with regard to my supporting Dennis Kucinich.

Clinton? O'Baughma? Richardson [<-- he's the fat one]? Nope!

Two reasons for Dennis:

  1. Filed impeachment papers on Cheney.
  2. [click to the E]

Suckers, All of you! Presidential for certain.

In & Around

Free Milk Seminar





Avast Ye Matey

So, the Rolling Stone 40th anniversary issue just came out. I just got it because, yep, I get Rolling Stone (some "free" subscription because of some interwebs thing).

This is part one of three or four anniversary issues, I believe.

Two things:

1) There are 20 feature interviews in this issue. Interviews with the most significant people from the music, film, and political worlds. Everyone from Jimmy Carter to Paul McCartney; Patti Smith to Tom Wolfe. Ringo Starr's in it (he was a The Beatles remember?).

What's striking about the 20, given how popular entertainment has shaped up since 1967, all 20 are white. Striking! No black people. Sure, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix are dead. Nobody likes Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. But, gee, Chuck D or Sly Stone were, what, busy? Michael Jordan? What about Cornell West? Brock O'Baughma? Oprah? Muhammad Ali? It's Rolling Stone for heaven sake, how about Michael Jackson? WTF? The Minister Louis Farrakhan. Somebody. Halle Berry for christ sake.

Maybe the next issue will be the famous blacks (second class again). Followed by the most famous pets or some shit.

2) Speaking of the interviews. I was reading the Keith Richards interview and the kid looks over my shoulder and says, "That man is smoking! Is he a pirate?"

Yes, actually. Keith Richards is a pirate. What else could I say?




Let's Play A Game!

Hey kids, let's play: Who's a Liar?

OK, who's a liar? Off the top of my head:

Dicky Cheney
Alberto Gonzalez
Donny Rumsfeld
Condi Rice
Pauly Wolfowitz
Karl MC Rove
George, HW, Laura, Barbara, Neil, and all the rest of the Bush Clan
(Jenna and Barbara too)
Davy Addington
Andy Card
Harry Meiers
John Yoo
Irv Libby (convicted)
Monica Goodling
Walnuts McCain
Karen Hughes
Tony Snow (pants on fire)
Scott McClennan
Ari Fleischer
Hammer DeLay
Colin Powell
Karl Christian Rove
Karl Rove


Every now and then I confidently say, "trust me."

That's what my brain whispered today. It happened while I was testing web code for FMS.

It happened like this: Oh shit!

Yes, that's correct: Oh shit! I can do this. I can do...that. Oh shit!

The CREATIVE PROCESS isn't something you wrestle like snakes or alligators. You'll lose every time. The CREATIVE PROCESS is something you feed fine gourmet foods. It's something you bribe. It's something you love while it beats your ass for absolutely no reason at all (must have been something you did though).

The CREATIVE PROCESS is something you sit back and watch like a movie. You're a spectator; a gofer at best. At worst, it's bitch. Feed it. Nurture it. Respect it. Fear it. Get it a Pepsi.

Gypsies, we are. Gypsies grifting along the turnpikes of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Gotta go.


Track Four

Track # 4, The Shepherd (2:00), just got fired and sent home.

Playlist Today

01 Butterflies 3:33
02 Three Wise Men 8:00
03 Mexican Jelly 3:52
04 Judge Stolen 5:08
05 Homer Jones 1:15
06 Mister Weems 4:01
07 Corporation 3:00
09 Rain's Blues 3:23

~ 42:22

Continued Sympathy

"The car stereo is a harsh critic. Consider your audience. If God wanted me to listen to your music in the car he'd invent a helmet that was part headphone and then line the roads with fluffy pillows and cupcake stands."

A Sympathetic Story

"There was a guy at my last job, basically just out of college. He gave me a video he made to watch that he made for a class. I watched it once, wasn't very good (I mean, was very bad), couldn't really hear most of the poorly recorded dialog. I talked to him about it, he explained it a little, and I watched the entire painful 90 minutes again, with headphones, to see what I missed. Still horrible. But I gave it the best chance I could.

Then I give him the MTNOT CD, thinking maybe he'd appreciate it. I ask, "Do you have some good headphones at home?" "Oh, sure!" he says. Then I remind him again when I give it to him "make sure to use headphones - half of the stuff is too subtle to hear otherwise, and the thing with the tones is just noise without them." He assures me he'll use headphones. Then a few days later he's talking about it and says "I think I know what you were trying to do, but I don't think it quite worked." I said, "What did you think about the Blue Velvet track?" (knowing that is one of his favorite movies). He says, "Which one was that?" I say "Did you use headphones?" He says, "No, I listened in the car on the way home from work.

The car. please."




Assignment Week Two/Three

Light Studies

The Car?

Maybe that's the problem. The car. Yes. I have a kickin' (stock) system in the old Plymouth Reliant. Yes, it's quiet enough. But, it's the car.

Tripgrass was never meant for the car.

Guh! What's my problem?

I listened to some of the tracks that so disgusted me in the car on proper headphones and all is fine (still I killed most of the EQ and will start over), but famously, "headphones are good a thing.'

Guh! What's my problem?

I offer no guarantees for listening satisfaction outside of a proper headphone environment. "Proper" meaning, those shitty iPod "buds" do not come close in any way to a decent listening environment. If your 'phones cost less than a Benji, they probably suck. Maybe I'll have people document that they have good headphones prior to giving them the record. After all, the nuances are in there for a reason.

Test: Woman



Damn It All

So, we've all been there. The mix. The EQ.

Just when you think you have it going well, you burn off a copy of your album-in-progress and play it straight through, say, in the car. And it sucks! Terrible. Of course part of the "sucks" and "terrible" is just getting sick of the project (which means it's almost done).

I've been mixing a long time, but this was some rookie-ass atrocious shit (maybe a bit harsh, but I wasn't pleased).

Re-mixing starts tomorrow. Now, it's just a never ending venture.

Like I said, we've all been there. And, thank goodness for sequential back-ups.

Oh Ray....



Stevie Wonder
Al Green



Retro Test Drive

I didn't know the kids were still doing this. I knew it came back in NY last year, but it's still around? I remember this look from the early 80s.



So, I'm listening to Kevin Federline's "Crazy" and damn if it's not the best track ever.

That's the kind of day I'm having.

A good day.

First Thing I Saw





These Pictures Don't Take Themselves I & II

Coffee Break



I want Yau-Man to adopt me.

Or, I want to adopt Yau-Man.

I Looked Into His Heart....

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALBERTO R. GONZALES: I'm here today to do my part to ensure that all facts about this matter are brought to light. These are not the actions of someone with something to hide.


GONZALES: No, sir, I don't remember where that conversation took place.

GONZALES: Senator, I have no recollection of knowing when that occurred.

GONZALES: Senator, let me get back with you with the most accurate information.

GONZALES: Senator, I've already said that I misspoke. It was my mistake.

GONZALES: Senator, I didn't say that I was always prepared. I said I prepared for every hearing.

GONZALES: Senator, I've already conceded that I misspoke at that press conference. There was nothing intentional.

GONZALES: Senator, we do take time to try to prepare for the press conference.

GONZALES: Senator, I don't want to quarrel with you.

GONZALES: Senator, I have no recollection about that, but I presume that that is true.

GONZALES: Senator, of course, I was involved in trying to understand...

GONZALES: Senator, I don't recall sending a follow-up, quite frankly.

GONZALES: Senator, I have to be -- I have to know in my heart that I can continue to be effective as the leader of this department.

GONZALES: Senator, I don't recall whether or not I made the decision that day.

GONZALES: Senator, can I see what you're reading from?

GONZALES: Senator, I don't know that.

GONZALES: Senator, it's hard for me to answer the first question.

GONZALES: Senator, I have searched my memory. I have no recollection of the meeting.

GONZALES: Senator, I can only testify as to what I recall. Believe me, I've searched my mind about this meeting

GONZALES: Senator, I don't think -- I don't know that a decision was made at that meeting.

GONZALES: Sir, I don't recall when the decision was made.

GONZALES: Senator, I recall sitting in a meeting.

GONZALES: Can I see his transcript?

GONZALES: I would like to see it.

GONZALES: Senator, I wasn't aware of this e-mail.

GONZALES: Sir, I don't recall the exact time frame.

GONZALES: Sir, I don't know if I would call it a plan.

GONZALES: Senator, it's difficult for me to reconcile the conversation.

GONZALES: Which idea, sir?

GONZALES: I do not recall. I thought your -- I'm sorry, I thought your question whether you recall the conversation -- I don't recall the conversation. I don't recall whether or not I was present. I suspect I probably was, but I don't recall.

GONZALES: OK. I'm aware now of what you're referring to.

GONZALES: Senator, I don't recall ever seeing these evaluations.

GONZALES: You should attack me.

GONZALES: I should have been more precise in my statements.

GONZALES: Senator, I don't recall specifically that statement.

GONZALES: Senator, not to my knowledge.

GONZALES: Sir, I'd have no way of knowing.

GONZALES: Senator, I don't recall whether he called or if there was a visit. It may have been a call.


At least he cleared up all the loose ends on this matter; ensured that all facts were brought to light. Some light was shed.

Beach Girl (Obviously)