Wednesday, December 29, 2010

San Francisco Day

"It's the American in me that makes me watch the blood pouring out from a bullet hole in his head" 
(The American in Me- Penelope Houston 1977)

One dreary day at Union Square,  April, 1977, I ran into Penelope Houston, the lead singer for San Francisco punk rock legends, The Avengers.  She was flanked by two guys, one with a mohawk, a really high punk rock mohawk, not the chickenshit kind that Brian Bosworth made popular a few years later.  As they stood next to me, they sort of sneered and then ignored me.  Dressed as I was in my Air Force field jacket with my fucked up Air Force haircut, it was understandable.  Penelope looked at me and said "Are you in the Navy?"  I replied "No, I'm in the Air Force", I then said "I know who you are, I've heard you on KSAN"  Her reaction was "So What"  the mohawk just kind of growled and acted bored.  She asked me if I had ever been to the Mabuhay Gardens, (San Francisco's premier punk rock venue), I said I hadn't, "You should go" she told me "We're playing there with The Nuns"  the silence that followed was awkward, but then it hit me, "Wanna get stoned?" I asked them.  You see anytime I ventured into The City, I would pre-roll about 10-12 joints of primo columbian to take with me.  It was a really nice icebreaker and what the fuck, tripping around San Francisco stoned was pretty fucking cool.  Standing there hitting a joint in the waning light of  a San Francisco day, it all felt so right, I got lost in my thoughts until one of the guys asked me "What's the Air Force like, I'm thinking of joining up" I looked at him, he was dead serious, "Cut your hair first" I told him, I had reported for basic training with a big bushy Tony Iommi hairstyle and the T.I.s gave me all kinds of shit about it, I had made the biggest mistake you can make when you join the military, I gave them a reason to notice me.  "Yeah, cut your hair" I repeated "If you have to join up, join the Coast Guard, if they won't take you, join the Air Force"  he nodded, relaxed, with his guard down, I saw that he wasn't much different from me, "We gotta go" Penelope said, "Alright" I said and they took off, causing the people walking towards them to part like the Red Sea.  As I watched them, a black guy with no front teeth sat down next me, "Can I have a hit of that?" he asked, "You can have it" I told him, "I have to get to the Mabuhay" I scurried down Geary as darkness creeped in, lured by the promise of rock & roll.  San Francisco,  nothing would ever be that uncomplicated again.
"Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country has been doing to you"
(The American in Me, Penelope Houston 1977)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Billy Miles Brooke- All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

The big question of the mid-sixties, The Beatles or The Stones, who do you like? The mop tops had the early advantage, they wrote their own songs, they had cool hair cuts, the pre-fab four was corporate.  The Stones on the other hand had bad teeth, they were surly, their image was strictly street.  Although the scrawny Stones weren't any tougher than the Fab Four, it was the public perception that they were that made the difference.  The Stones were blues, they were rockers, they had attitude and swagger.  By comparison the Beatles were pussies, your parents  liked their music.  

Whatever edge the Boys from Liverpool had gleaned during their days in Hamburg was gone by the time "Meet The Beatles" was released.  They sold out, pure and simple, blame Brian Epstein or blame Paul's natural tendencies to create muzak.  Either way by 1969 they were nothing more than four blokes in a studio, out of touch with their fans, swirling just above the drain.  In 1970 as internal squabbles and creative differences finished off the Beatles.  The Rolling Stones were in the midst of creating and releasing some of the greatest rock music ever.

The release of "Beggars Banquet" in 1968, marked a return to the band's primal roots.  The album hinted at the turmoil and drug abuse that would affect the band in the future. The next album was influenced by California's cosmic cowboys, "Let It Bleed" came out in 1969,  it was  released to the public the day after the infamous Altamont Concert, it was a darkly shaded dispatch.  Writer Stephen Davis described the album this way; "No Rock record, before or since, has ever so completely captured the sense of palpable dread that hung over its era."

"Sticky Fingers" released in 1971 followed on the heels of a bitter  split from their old record label Decca. It was the first recorded without Brian Jones (his input on the previous two had been minimal) It was also the first album on their new vanity label, Rolling Stone Records, featuring the familiar "tongue & lips" logo that would become their trademark. The cover designed by Andy Warhol, featured a working zipper, which of course led to people in stores, tearing the cellophane wrap in order to zip it open.   

The era would culminate with what many call the greatest rock album ever recorded, "Exiles on Main St."  Forced to flee the UK as tax exiles, the band members settled into the south of France. There equipped with their mobile recording studio they recorded tracks for their next album. Bill Wyman noted in his memoir "Stone Alone" that drug use was  widespread during the sessions, to the degree that Wyman refused to attend recording sessions at Keith's villa.  That something so cohesive would come out of the chaotic maelstrom that surrounded them is a miracle in its self.   Even though the album is often described as being The Rolling Stones finest moment, "Exiles on Main St." was in fact  the high water mark.  The next album "Goathead's Soup" would signal a creative slide, Keith addled by  addiction, deferred to Mick, who changed the band's direction. 

So what does all this have to do with a review of  "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go"  Billy Miles Brooke's first solo album.  For starters, CD Baby describes the album: "As the imaginary great lost studio album between “Let it Bleed” and “Sticky Fingers.”   The Stones influence is apparent, but while it pays homage to the Stones, it's not a tribute album. It's a mostly autobiographical collection of soul-in-torment songs.   Billy Miles Brooke writes and sings about coping with the reality of living the rock and roll dream. Billy has deep roots in the local scene, going all the way back to 1982 and Gypsy Rose, a true bar band in every sense.

They were all destined for day jobs, with one exception.  Lead singer Billy Brooke (then known as Billy Sundae)  rose out of the bush leagues and on to the majors.  In Billy's case that was Los Angeles and the Sunset Strip glam metal scene.  His next band, Tragic Romance was lean and mean, they hit the scene becoming a favorite of both fans and fellow musicians.  They seemed poised for prime time success, but the major labels never came calling.  Tragic Romance may have been ahead of their times, while most glam metal bands reveled in excess (drugs and sex) Tragic Romance was different, darker, more introspective.  They would sign with Century Media, who only gave them half-assed support, at best.  An album "Cancel The Future" (recorded live) was released in 1993, followed by a couple of appearances on MTV and a national tour. After the demise of  Tragic Romance, Billy Brooke took off for Europe, where for five years he traveled and played his way across the continent.

Upon his return to the States, he lived in Nashville for a year, there his solo project was conceived and brought to fruition. On "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go", Billy ponders the question that has plagued musicians from Mozart to Jagger, what to do after the cheering stops?  Searching for answers Billy takes us back to Villefranche-sur Mer in 1971, or Muscle Shoals in 1969, back to a time when The "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom"  was sucking up nose powder like a damn shop vac.  Billy doesn't do well with women, he loves them, they leave him, maybe it's the type of women he's drawn to, as he sings about the  "the moulin rouge and raven haired dancers, I dreamed of all my life"  with their cocaine eyes and speed freak jive, high maintenance gals, for sure. 

Sticking closer to Tragic Romance than the Stones, the eternal quest continues,  under "The Lights on Lonely Blvd. "You think that I'm not there, but I'm all around you", but love is blind and you soon will find "I ride the wind, it's freedom I adore" ultimately that's all we really have to lose.  Billy continually goes back to common themes  on "Tears and Wine" he just can't seem to drink her off his mind  "Raise a glass to old memories, all the times we had it made in the shade"  you don't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need  "I'm blown away when I said stay and you stayed"  Never blow a second chance on love.  "All Wound Up", is a Tragic Romance tune redone by Billy  "Many's the time that I thought that I knew you" haunted by a girl, who's been less than faithful, "I know when I look in your eyes"  Billy sings with a steady urgency, shadowed by a circling piano, "I know about all them lies...I don't care...if you must know the truth...I'm still in love with you." Romance it seems is not out of fashion, for if it were, that would truly be tragic. 

"Around the World" is an achingly personal narrative, the road beckons, "when there's a whole world calling, you've got to hit the road"    Billy's vocals always resonate without resorting to the thunderous shrieks so common to  the metal genre.  "I've been around the world, I've seen so many things, But I still can't tell a Joker from a King." 
The "Midnight Rain" keeps coming down and she just hydroplaned his heart  "a reflection on wet pavement as my whole world slips away" when he tries to sleep he keeps having a recurring dream "I'm in the desert, lost and forgotten, and then I hear you very far away" No dream analysis is needed "just as I'm getting close... you start to fade"  The last of the romantics or just a glutton for punishment?  Billy soothes his pain with some "Sloe Gin" and a long lost weekend  "Oh! I hear that strip and those lights beckon"  ying yang, you're my thang!  "I'm back in Vegas again!" let's "light up the city of sin"  where there's many a barroom queen, ready to love you until your money's gone. For Billy that happens fast "My stash was gone like the wind" it's only money, you say with a sigh,  we'll drink a round to this town and bid goodbye.  

"Moonlight Boogie" is a straight up boogie rocker "I was searching for a long legged lover  late on Saturday night"  Seek and you shall find, Boogie rock was a sub-genre that sprouted from the Blues Rock of the late 1960's and early 1970's.  While Blues Rock bands preferred to play slow songs with each instrumentalist taking long solos, the Boogie rockers started uptempo and just plowed ahead. It was quite the style for a while, giving birth to such sayings as "Boogie on", "Boogie Down", "Born to Boogie" and of course "Boogie till you Puke."  A bleary eyed Billy finds himself alone in New York City to face "The Raging Light of Dawn" mournfully  he sings  "It was just a dream, opened my eyes you're nowhere to be seen"  solitude is overrated "I can see you in that Hudson River rain, and if I cry that don't ease the pain" putting the Big Apple behind him, he returns to L.A. where he proceeds to  "Drown my sorrow in a pool of alcohol"  a pool equals how many bottles of gin?   

The rollicking  "Tearin' up the Town" closes the album in fine fashion, the album is in the can, it's time to let loose "looking fine in your leathers and lace and eyetalian (sic) shoes" it's a classic working for the weekend song,   "Work like a dog just to get to the weekend, count the minutes down till Friday night, it's 5 o'clock and you know I'm busting"  Billy throws everything at the wall, rockabilly, boogie, honking sax and cascading piano in a mad dash to the clock and out the door.  "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go" is an objectively good record of retro 70's guitar rock. It's neither flashy nor rough, the music is lean and concise, the singing is controlled and effective. The lack of  instrumental excesses allows Billy's  soul to wrap around each song.  

Billy Miles has stayed busy since his return to New Mexico, he was an integral part of The Dirty Novels and is currently involved with Dirt City rockers, Panic.  Always classy and gracious, he's also an advocate for live music in his home of Santa Fe.  Billy Miles Brooke is one of the most important and influential musicians  to come out of the Albuquerque music scene, and the hardest working man in rock and roll. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Western Skies

Early in radio's history, music publishers demanded royalties for any records played on the air. In order to avoid this fee, live performances were preferred over recorded music. The Dept. of Commerce regulated the fledgling radio industry and they favored live music over recorded music. Top artists of the day also played along, routinely denying permission for their records to be played on the air. The old American idiom of "Why give away for free, what you can get paid for" applied.  However after 1940 that would start to change, that year a federal court ruled that once a record was sold, artists had no further claim to control how or where it was played. Radio stations now had the freedom to program and play music as they saw fit.  Slowly the bias against recorded music was overcome, after all it did eliminate the need to keep musicians on the payroll.  I don't know if the idea or concept of ranking music was an American invention.  We do love our polls, lists and ratings so it was only natural that eventually someone would program a radio station around this premise.
In the early 1950's Todd Storz (The Storz family owned several Midwest stations) and his program director were sitting in an Omaha tavern, so the story goes, when they started to notice how often customers kept playing the same songs on the jukebox.  Storz,  armed himself with music sales charts, compared them to jukebox sales figures, then he started programming the Storz stations.  What Todd Storz invented was Top 40 radio, the format would eventually sweep across the nation.  In 1958, Storz purchased Oklahoma City station KOMA and transformed it into a Top 40 giant.   KOMA  had a tremendous reach with its directional antenna array and 50,000 watt transmitter.   Ironically, while KOMA reached beyond the Rockies to the Pacific ocean, in Oklahoma City they played second fiddle to crosstown rivals WKY.  For many small rural towns across the western United States, KOMA was the only Top 40 station available.  KOMA covered New Mexico like a blanket from Raton to Deming, from Gallup to Tucumcari, and of course Albuquerque.  KOMA's signal was so strong at night that Duke City  station owners quickly learned to avoid the 1520 frequency on the am dial, fearing their signal would be canceled out after sundown.  KOMA's Top-40 era would officially end in 1980 with a format change to country.   However, KOMA's grip on the western night time airwaves had already been broken by the mid 1970's.
Leased by American investors, XEROK-80 a Mexican station located in Ciudad Juarez (across from El Paso,Tx) was blasting 150,000 watts using  three Continental 50,000 watt transmitters in series, non directional, clear channel.  Started up in 1972 (formerly XELO) XEROK was live at first,  with local radio legend Steve Crosno working the afternoon spot. Using a format called "Rock of the World" XEROK took its first shaky steps, however this version of the station was short lived. The top 40 format was dropped and replaced by syndicated and pre-recorded programs.  A year later Jim White was hired as program director, Kent Burkhardt joined as a consultant and the task of turning this  150,000 watt blow torch into a super station began.  Life at the West Pole (the dj's nickname for El Paso) was slow and easy, the cost of living was low and the sin city of Juarez was just a short walk away.  Since XEROK-80 was a Mexican station, it was required by Mexican law to broadcast at least 50% of its programming in Spanish, unless... it was pre-recorded.  All shows were pre-taped in El Paso and carried across the border by couriers to the studio where Mexican engineers cued up the tapes, sometimes in the right order or at the right time, there was no news, no time checks and no weather. The players were in place but the chemistry was wrong, what XEROK lacked Jim White couldn't muster from his troops.
Early in 1974 a notice published in Radio & Record offered up a clue that something was up "John Long formerly PD at WROR-Boston is the new PD of XEROK -El Paso  No word on what happened to Jim White,  Long says that he's excited,  and that it's going to be a m-therf---er."  The first thing Long implemented was strict rules about when shows should be taped.  He reasoned that the morning show (6-10 am) should start taping at 6 am and finish at 10 am.  Before then the dj's had a habit of stretching out their recording shifts, often recording the morning show late in the day.  Long also demanded that as one dj signed off, the next dj would join him in the studio for a few minutes.  By doing this it tied the shows together and gave the impression that everything was done live.  John Long's hard work would pay off with XEROK-80 "The Sun City Streaker"  pulling a 21.4 total share and a 48.9 in teens. Unheard of numbers in any market, making  XEROK-80 the highest rated top 40 in the United States.  The euphoria was short lived, given the volatile relationship between management and staff, friction soon ensued.  Within a year John Long was gone, XEROK-80 continued to be a force, but much like KOMA its biggest competition was local.  KINT the El Paso Top 40 stalwart withstood the initial onslaught from XEROK-80 and regained its accustomed spot atop the ratings book.  The combination of  radio vet Jim Taber and the irrepressible Jhani Kaye was too much to overcome.  In 1977 XEROK-80 tried to shake things up by going live, the on-air staff would commute into Mexico everyday to broadcast from the studio.  By 1980 both KOMA and XEROK-80 had seen better days, both stayed on the air, but with radically different formats.  While KOMA switched to country, XEROK-80 reverted to Mexican management and was reborn as Radio Canon, a Spanish music station that literally  blasted across the southwest (dedications were accompanied by a cannon blast)  Today, XEROK is still broadcasting in Spanish, but at a greatly reduced 5,000 watts, an attempt was made to fire it back up to the 150,000 watts of its glory days, but the overburdened grid couldn't muster enough juice.
Originally the Mexican border stations were a response to the U.S. and Canada monopolizing clear channel radio frequencies at the expense of Mexican stations.  The Mexican govt. started granting licenses to U.S. operators along the border in the early 1930's, these X- stations could range in power from 50,000 watts to 500,000 watts.  The border blasters gave us the legends of Dr. Brinkley and his goat glands, mail order baby chicks and of course Wolfman Jack.  In 1986 an agreement between Mexico, The U.S. and Canada, to share clear channel frequencies effectively ended the era of the megawatt stations in North America.  In our lifetime we will witness the death of terrestrial radio.  This format of communication and entertainment that we once knew simply as "radio" has been supplanted. Did video kill the radio stars?, nope, it was a combination of mobile phones capable of storing and playing music combined with internet services  that allow users to download directly to those phones.  The  phenomena of creating your own soundtrack as you go about your daily routine started with the advent of the Sony Walkman.  What we have today is far advanced from that bulky battery and tape devouring behemoth.  Every person is now a program director and who knows your taste in music better than you?  Before the purveyors of satellite radio start rejoicing over the demise of their  earth bound competitors, I'll remind them that they are the next dinosaur that will soon be extinct.  The satellite format has never really caught on and you don't really have that much more control over what you listen to. Both forms of radio broadcasting have only themselves to blame for their impending expiration.  Boneheaded format changes, limited play lists, and greed, have driven listeners to seek out a more personalized listening experience.

"Do you remember
back in nineteen sixty-six?
Country, Jesus, hillbilly, blues,
that's where I learned my licks.
Oh, from coast to coast and line to line
in every county there,
I'm talkin' 'bout that outlaw X
it's cuttin' through the air."
(Heard it On the X- ZZ Top)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fear of a Blank Page

Writing about rock music is silly, it's an extraneous digression from reality, but it's also fun.  Anybody that writes about rock music,  started out reading about rock music.   I want to introduce you to my favorite writers, some wrote about rock music and a couple did not.  Hunter S. Thompson invented a totally different way of writing, gonzo journalism.  Lester Bangs changed the way a rock journalist could or should write.  Ira Robbins introduced intelligence to American rock journalism. Greg Shaw chronicled a library's worth of rock history and music during his lifetime.
Ring Lardner never wrote about music, rock or otherwise. His style of writing now seems dated yet still worthy of admiration and imitation. He was in his prime writing for the Saturday Evening Post in  the years after WW1.  Lardner wrote about sports, but not in an ordinary way, he wasn't about stats or balls and strikes, he focused on the human angle.  Ring Lardner was far more than just a sports columnist, as he dabbled in poetry, prose and short stories as well.  He made good use of vernacular slang, misspellings, grammatical errors and run-on sentences.  This gave his articles a down to earth, homespun feel that endeared him to his readers.   Lardner blended sarcasm, cynicism and sardonic wit with warm affectionate observations of everyday events.  He died of a heart attack in 1933 after a long battle with alcoholism. Hunter S. Thompson was the originator of gonzo journalism, a style of writing wherein the writer involves himself in what he is reporting to the point of almost becoming a part of the event being covered.  Hunter became a journalist  while serving in the United States Air Force.  However, his deep rooted contempt for authority soon led to a recommendation for an early honorable discharge from his commanding officer, who noted: "In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy"  Following his discharge from the Air Force, Thompson drifted in and out of a variety of jobs, before being hired at The National Observer.  In 1965 an article he wrote for The Nation about the Hell's Angels motorcycle club led to Hunter living and riding with the Angels for a year, gathering material for his first book.  "Hell's Angels" was published in 1966,  the book caused a sensation, The New York Times described Hunter as a  "spirited, witty, observant and original writer; his prose crackles like motorcycle exhaust."  Hunter paid a heavy price for his fame. A falling out between himself and the gang led to a brutal beating at a Hell's Angels gathering.
In between books, Hunter joined the staff of Rolling Stone magazine which, would publish his most iconic articles and stories.  Hunter's next book took us on "a savage journey to the heart of the American Dream"  published in 1971 "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was a combination expose and myth buster.  It was made into a movie in 1998, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp.  His next book was a brutal take on the 1972 Nixon-McGovern presidential campaign. Fueled by his long-standing hatred of Richard Nixon, he deconstructs the notion that either   man could  lead the nation.  In his later years, Hunter managed to stay relevant if not always fashionable, while holed up at his home in Woody Creek,Co.   Unfortunately, he was hard wired to self destruct, gonzo journalism demanded that you live a gonzo lifestyle.  That life would take a toll on Hunter in his later years.  Troubled by a number of health problems, he committed suicide on Feb. 20, 2005, at the age of 67. 
Greg Shaw's first serious attempt at publishing was Mojo-Navigator Rock & Roll News, a fanzine that covered the Haight-Asbury music scene in his hometown of San Francisco.  He moved to Los Angeles after landing a job at United Artists as Assistant Head of Creative Services.  His job was to write artist bios, press releases and reviews for all artists on the U.A. roster.  When U.A. launched an in house music publication, Phonograph Record Magazine, he was named as editor. The magazine sold no advertising and was handed out to FM stations to use in promotions. This enabled Shaw to turn it into a kind of fanzine, covering all kinds of obscure music, cult favorites, critics’ bands and new trends. In addition to his job at U.A., Greg continued to publish Bomp Magazine.   Bomp featured exhaustive discographies, band history profiles and detailed reviews. By 1979 the cost of publishing outweighed revenue coming in and Shaw was forced to fold  Bomp.  Greg now focused on Bomp Records, inspired by Lenny Kaye's Nuggets album, he began working on a sequel to Nuggets that he called Pebbles.  This collection of  60's garage punk and psychedelic bands would grow to 30 volumes.  After years of health issues, Greg Shaw passed away in 2004.    
Ira Robbins, Editor Emeritus  of Trouser Press never met a big word he didn't use. He helped raise the bar, for all album reviewers and music writers in general.  Ira brought college level writing skills and vocabulary to people who read at a seventh grade level, god bless him.   His ability to dissect albums with the skill of a practiced heart surgeon, makes him near and dear to my own heart. Trans-Oceanic Trouser Press (America's only British rock magazine) suffered from an identity problem, Early on the magazine championed prog rock bands like Gentle Giant and Hawkwind, then they tried to convince everyone that Pub Rock was the next big thing. Finally they jumped on the Punk Rock bandwagon, and beat that horse to death.  Trouser Press would overcome Ira's pretentious anglophile tendencies to become a decent fanzine and nothing more. The real legacy left behind by Trouser Press is the large volume of album reviews that they published.  Each review is concise, well researched and usually dead on the money.  Ira Robbins  is currently Editorial Director of Premiere Radio Networks.   Which now makes him a corporate tool.
 Lester Bangs, got his start reviewing albums for Rolling Stone. However his abrasive style and manners grew tiresome and Editor Jann Wenner fired him over a negative review of a Canned Heat album.   Canned fucking Heat!!!   If I ever had to listen to Canned Heat long enough to give an honest critique of any of their albums, I would just shoot myself instead. Lester then landed a job in Detroit at Creem magazine where his legend would grow. He became an editor, and mentor to the younger writers at Creem.  However a falling out with Publisher Barry Kramer resulted in Bangs being forced out.  To make matters worse, Kramer owned the rights to everything Lester wrote while at Creem.  He left for New York City, bitter but hopeful of better things.  His life quickly went to shit, unable to control his use of drugs and alcohol, his work suffered, he wrote sporadically and kept missing deadlines.  He crossed over from music critic to musician  by performing and recording with Texas punk band, The Delinquents. He would also record an album with a New York City based band, Birdland, neither resulted in earthshaking music or success.  His fall from grace went from a few stumbles to an all out free fall.  In 1982 he died from an overdose of cough syrup in New York City. They found him wearing headphones with The Human League spinning on the turntable. I've often wondered what happened to his record collection?, r.i.p., keep your stylus sharp.    
Lester Bangs

Friday, November 26, 2010

They Passed This Way: Jim Morrison

"If only I could hear
the sound of the sparrows
and feel childhood pulling me back again"
 (Jim Morrison  1967)
As the son of a naval officer who would rise to the rank of Rear Admiral, James Douglas Morrison enjoyed an idyllic childhood.  Born in Melbourne, Florida on December 8th, 1943,  Jim was raised in the typical manner of military dependents.  It was his father's rank and service that brought him to the Land of Enchantment, which was not a normal destination for a career naval officer.  The Morrison family would live in Albuquerque, not once but twice. The family's first stay was from 1946 to 1948.  Following a brief post war assignment in Washington D.C., George Morrison was assigned as an instructor at the Naval Special Weapons Facility, located at Kirtland AFB.  The following year, 1947, would be memorable for the Morrison clan. Jim's sister Anne Robin was born in Albuquerque, then during a weekend outing to Santa Fe, the family came upon the aftermath of  a highway accident involving some Indians in a pick-up truck.  The scene would have a lasting effect on four year old Jim, the memory  would haunt him for the rest of his life.     Jim's father spoke of the incident years later: "We went by several Indians" George Morrison recalled "It did make an impression on him, He always thought about that crying Indian"   Although Jim described it as "Indians scattered all over the highway, bleeding to death" his sister offered her thoughts on the matter. "He enjoyed telling that story and exaggerating it, He said he saw a dead Indian by the side of the road, and I don't even know if that's true." As for the nonsense that the spirit of  a dying Indian passed onto Jim as they drove by, chalk that up as part of the Lizard King mystique
  In 1948 George Morrison received his orders and the family relocated to Los Altos, Ca. where Jim would begin his schooling.  More moves would follow, Washington D.C. (1951) Claremont,Ca. (1952) and then in 1955 back to Albuquerque. George Morrison now returned to the Naval Special Weapons Facility as  Commander.  The family took up residence at 8912 Candelaria NE, forever known as the "Morrison House".  Jim Morrison now 12 years old would attend both Monroe and Wilson Middle Schools.  Jim's stay in Albuquerque was normal and without incident, the family lived a quiet life in a quiet neighborhood.  After two years, the family left Albuquerque for good, moving to Alameda,Ca., In 1958 they moved again, this time to Alexandria,Va. where Jim graduated from high school.  Following a short stint at a junior college, Jim enrolled at Florida State Univ., where he was arrested in 1963 following a drunken prank. Having soured on the restrictive attitudes of the Florida panhandle, Jim transfered to UCLA in 1964,  where he earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA's film school.  He now pursued his love of film making, producing two films with his roommate. It seemed that Jim was destined for a career in movie making, until he met fellow film school student Ray Manzarek.  Their acquaintanceship would lead to the formation of The Doors in 1965.  The band's self-titled debut LP, released in January of 1967 was the beginning of the band's success.  The Doors would go on to become one of the most popular rock bands of all time. Jim Morrison would transcend rock music, becoming an icon for an entire generation.  His death in 1971 at the age of 27,  robbed the world of a rare and unique talent.  The Lizard King, he passed this way, we felt his presence, we shared his pain, the king is dead, long live the king. 
"Some call it heavenly in its brilliance"
Jim Morrison

Monday, November 22, 2010


Carport Thunder Vol. One

Compilation albums are essentially time capsules, a grab bag of musical styles thrown together for promotional purposes or profit.  An aural snapshot of  a time or place that we look back on fondly (no matter how crappy it really may have been)  Ubik Sound, a label that was more co-op than corporate, released "Carport Thunder Vol. 1" in 1991.  Four of Albuquerque's up and coming bands recorded tracks for the album.   Individually, they were a mixed bag of alt-country rock, jangly folk pop, and frantic post-punk.  Collectively,  they produced a solid album bursting with high energy  American music.   Side One opens with The Ant Farmers and a tale of pick up trucks parked in the yard and the people who borrow them. The Ant Farmers  (Jon Little,vocals  Carl Petersen, vocals-guitar Darrell Sparks, bass & Bill Mudd, drums) effortlessly fused roots rock, alt-country twang and intelligent but slightly twisted lyrics.    Jon ambles in like a bad relative, he needs to drive "The Ford", "I've got the keys to start the thing in the yard", the rhythm section is steady as a heartbeat.  Jon adds "I promise not to wreck it, not take it far"  Carl skillfully jabs with his guitar, as  Jon exclaims "Oh No!..The Ford."  The highlight of any Ant Farmers song was always Carl's unpretentious wit and dry humor, oh hell!, maybe those dents will hammer out.    Sticking with the Ant Farmers; "Stick I Stand" tells an all too familiar story, "Like a stick I will stand, with a rose in my hand"  most of us have been there,  "All the words that I planned, sounded slow, sounded bland, no one else could understand"  fellas, Carl Petersen feels your pain.
The Gutterleaves were the least known of the four bands on this album.  However in Eric Johnson they had a talented musician who was well grounded in American musical tradition.  "Bargain" is a speedy rush of  San Francisco folk rock and strident 60's garage punk, slammed out in under two minutes, it's a lesson in  hipster philosophy 101,  "I look to see where I'm going"....."I look to see where I've always been"  .   Ah! San Francisco, be sure to wear, a cactus flower in your hair.   "At My Home"  is So-Cal cosmic cowpunk at it's very best.   The influence of Stan Ridgway & Wall of Voodoo is apparent. Like so many songs, it's set in a bar, Eric sings that "there's nothing here except this beer and I've got a friend waiting for me at my home." As this slow brooding piece of music unfolds, the singer realizes that the trick is knowing when it's time to go home, call him a cab, it's time.   A Murder of Crows was a vehicle for Junius Kerr to rage against...most anything.  The band was versatile switching from the stray cat strut of "Lonewolf Blues" to the  speedy angst of "I Hate My Guitar" a song that finds Junius actually raging against the machine.  Caleb Miles makes his presence felt, whether it's a ripping blues run, choppy rhythm riffs or slippery solos, he's the gear that turns the wheels. I don't think Caleb hated his guitar at was a love affair...Caleb and his guitar.
The Saddlesores were an alt-country band, tougher and more talented than most bands branded with that label.  Cole Mitchell's easy drawl, powered by Keith Drummond's precise guitar playing and John Hastings appropriately low key drumming, resulted in music that was well conceived and entirely accessible. "Stop Me" gives a tip of the hat to Waylon Jennings & The Waylors, circa 1974.  Cole mournfully sings, "Stop me if this sounds familiar, stop me if you've heard this one before" he wouldn't stop if you asked him to, but coming from him it sounds completely genuine. The birthright of every country singer is the truck driving song.  It gets even better when the truck driver is your mother.  "Mama Had a Peterbuilt"  is the Saddlesores most popular song.   "It was a cold day, sometime in November" a tragic accident has taken Daddy's life "The day they brought what was left of daddy's big rig home." After an appropriate period of mourning, Mama throws off the chains of domestic life. "You see her almost every night hauling freight down ninety nine...Mama had her Peterbuilt just right" That's good for Mama, but those poor boys are gonna starve!   Side Two opens with the Saddlesore's "13 Steps", a dark cloud hangs overhead as Cole sings: "I was sitting down at Rusty's place I had a one too many shots, thinking about tomorrow and all the things that I ain't got." To make a long story short, he meets a girl at the bar takes her back to his motel room, winds up shooting her dead and now he faces; "thirteen steps to heaven and a six foot drop to hell"  gun safety it's no joke,  Any last words?  "The life i lead it ain't too plain, a gun's my only friend, instead of getting me out of trouble it only got me in" Amen!  
The Ant Farmer's contributions to this album were low key melodic gems, made more appealing by their dry humor and tunefulness.  This is especially apparent  on "Elvis Bird" a little ditty about Elvis Presley, your mother and their love child, it rocks along merrily, in contrast to the droll lyrics. Jon sings; "By all means you can't remember everything, run inside and tell your mother, you had an awful dream"  One night down at the end of lonely street "Elvis Presley and your mother had a thing, but the baby turned out bad and went to jail"  It's jailhouse rock for Junior, he's found a new place to dwell "In El Paso, in the prison, in his cell, hubba hubba, come on baby, don't be cruel" He ain't nothing but a hound dog, but his mother still loves him.  On "Fraidy Cat",  The Ant Farmers use  straight forward momentum and unaffectedly emotional singing to spin their yarn.  Jon starts out; "Not a joker, not a king, not a singer, I can sing, but I can't sing the song that you like" Jon's vocals are framed by Carl's melodic guitar playing "Not a sailor, not a saint, not a dreamer, I can dream, but I can't paint the picture that you like" Jon is accompanied by some delightful back-up vocals from Darrell and a call and response chorus with Carl. An intact sense of humor makes  the music, fun, joyous and timeless, allowing for repeated listens.
Eric Johnson, the primary creative force behind The Gutterleaves, was clearly influenced by the cowpunk bands  of the 1980's.   "Let's Take A Walk" a narrative mood piece, reflects Johnson's musical roots, while the lyrics betray his natural hippie nature.  "Let's take a walk, we can hold hands, skip a stone across the river into another land" it only makes sense, the original wave of  California cosmic cowboys were hippies at heart  "Let's pick a flower put it in your hair, lie on our backs in the grass breathing in fresh air" I'm not knocking it, the world would be a better place, if hippies ran it.  The Gutterleaves also eagerly explored a different, more roots oriented musical path. "Llano" is a predictable and corny  narrative about why cowboys shouldn't bone the rancher's daughter.  Stuart Dyson sings with gusto and bravado, "Where a man can be what he wants to be if he has the brains and the balls"  Dyson is now a well known political commentator for KOB-TV. He is known as a savvy observer of New Mexico's unsavory politicos, who seem to have balls to spare, but very little brains.
A Murder of Crows was best taken in two minute bursts of  chaotic fun.  The longer songs often left you waiting in vain for something comprehensible to catch your ear.  However on Carport Thunder they stick to the shorties, "99 Demons" is a blast furnace mix of rockabilly and 1960's folk rock, Junius sings like he's in the midst of a spazz attack;  "I got 99 demons in my head you know they're all after you" In the wretched life of a speed freak this passes for a love song;  "I  could show you something new, I could show my heart to you...say, come on baby"  "Rollin' On" is a rollicking little tune, west coast folk rock from the shadow of the Sandias.  "Brokedown, keeps on rolling, where there is no place to stop" the old ford pick-up is careening down Sandia Crest road "Bad brakes, gears are broken, rolling like a spinning top" When the songs hit their mark, Junius Kerr and A Murder of Crows get by on ease and charm, less so when they don't.  That same year they would release their eponymous debut album, it was an adequate if uncompelling effort.

Eric Johnson and Darrell Sparks

Monday, November 8, 2010




First of all, these guys suck ass! there is no discernible quality in any of their music that would make a casual listener think otherwise.  Albucrazy screamo-crunkcore act BrokenCYDE (their spelling not mine) are an affront to musical taste.   Collectively they produce a morass crap fest of pig squeals (bree bree) and screams. They are finger flip posers pushing unconvincing bad boy attitudes, backed by beats jacked from any number of hyphy tracks. They try hard, they work hard (the pig in their videos is cool) but it's not genuine.   It's all pre-fab noise, that appeals to some and leaves others holding their nose like they just found someone had taken a steaming dump on the front seat of their car.   With that said, they are extremely popular, these motherfuckers have racked up some unreal numbers on You Tube.  I don't have sales numbers for Albuquerque based bands in front of me, but they've probably racked up more sales (digital and cd) than anyone this side of the The Shins.  So, why haven't you heard of them? maybe because their core audience starts at about 12 years old and peaks before they can legally buy those 40oz. bottles that they croak about. 
In the music business that's the life expectancy of a fruit fly.  While Brokencyde imagine themselves as having some connection to the No Cal Bay Area hyphy scene, they are in fact much closer in spirit and intelligence to those jackass juggalos that worship ICP. And not unlike those face painted morons (who claim they're peddling humor and irony)  the joke gets lost when the musicians start to believe their own bullshit.  Brokencyde was founded in Albuquerque by vocalists Se7en (David Gallegos) and Mikl (Michael Shea),  Phat J and Antz (Anthony Trujillo) joined later to round out the group.  Mikl provides "clean vocals" while Se7en (that spelling is so stupid) provides "screamed vocals" yes, that's right, he screams,croaks and squeals like a pig, all of which get real tiresome in a hurry.  They push some silly bullshit as to how they came up with the name (because their personal relationships were broken inside). The group released their first album " I'm Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It!" in 2009 on the Break Silence label,  they followed up with "Will Never Die" in 2010.
To say that the band is universally hated is an understatement, the band has been the subject of hoaxes, fake stories and death rumors. This includes a fake report that said the band members were being held on drug, rape and child porn charges in New Mexico. Not that these hollow heads let any of that bother them, despite their emo trappings, these lunkheads are not hyper sensitive, they've developed some thick skins. Brokencyde has been universally panned by critics, however I'm just a blogger, my humble opinion doesn't mean shit, let's see what the pros think;  Metal Edge magazine has called Brokencyde "fucking horrendous.","Thrash Magazine" has called them "a mockery to the world of music". contributor Michael Swaim said the band sounded like "a Slipknot-Cher duet" British commentator Warren Ellis calls Brokencyde's "FreaXXX" music video "a near-perfect snapshot of everything that’s shit about this point in the culture." The New Musical Express stated in a review of I'm Not a Fan, But the Kids Like It!, that "even if I caught Prince Harry and Gary Glitter adorned in Nazi regalia defecating through my grandmother’s letterbox I would still consider making them listen to this album too severe a punishment." I must say that's pretty harsh, but there's more; The online Urban Dictionary has gone so far as to tag Brokencyde as urban slang that defines:  "Music so bad, it has become the universal standard for bad music" they have also designated Brokencyde as meaning "the act of having a penis inserted in your ear", ouch! but wait! there's more, The Urban Dictionary describes Brokencyde as "The band that always wins the what is the worst shit-ass music ever created by man argument." not satisfied with that they also add; "Everyone thinks that they know horrible music, but upon subjugation to the "freaxx" youtube video, Brokencyde unanimously decides the debate."
The Urban Dictionary is still not done with these tea baggers; "Imagine four things plus one other thing from Albuquerque New Mexico, USA.. jacking each other off so hard skin has begun to tear.. throw in a few mindless word combos AND a few carefully selected samples from techno, pop, crunk lil jon shit, emo, screamo, fagboygirl, scenekid music.. subsequently record that shit.. play it to a record label, get signed.. and whaalaa! you have BROKENCYDE!" Damn, somebody get a water hose so we can get those Urban Dictionary fuckers off these boys.  By comparison you would have to say that I was nice, very nice indeed, nonetheless fuck off and die Brokencyde!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Ant Farmers

Formed by Carl Petersen and Jon Little in 1988, the Ant Farmers  went against the grain in order to pursue their unique style.  Petersen's knack for writing energetically quirky pop songs and his keen ear for melodies, gave the Farmers their signature sound.  By adding a little jangle in the guitars and some nice harmonies they developed a style that resembled no other band on the local scene.  Jon Little in an interview with Laura Marrich in the Weekly Alibi, talked about the public perception of the band "We were considered a little on the wimpy side."  Invariably when the media would mention the Ant Farmers, they were described as lo-fi, a music genre, born in response to the overly produced  music of the 1980's. Whether by design (Springsteen's Nebraska) organic (R.Stevie Moore & Daniel Johnston) or by economic necessity (most local bands) the lo-fi aesthetic became part of the American musical landscape.  However in 1988, in Albuquerque, with arena rock still popular and grunge just around the corner, this step back from technology  was not greeted with enthusiasm. Jon Little would touch on this in the interview with Laura Marrich "There were people that said we sounded like REM or Yo La Tengo, sort of the softer indie type vibe, which wasn't popular then as it is now."

 The original line-up for the band consisted of  Jon Little (vocals) Carl Petersen (guitarist
 & vocalist) Bill Mudd (drums) and Darrell Sparks (bass).  The Ant Farmers played an unrushed mix of rootsy folk-rock. Carl's songs offered wry commentary on the ordinary things that happen to ordinary people.  Jon Little sang with a dry, unadorned voice that underlined Carl's straightforward observations. The band's comfortable enthusiasm combined with an easy, direct appeal, quickly converted casual listeners into loyal fans. The Ant Farmers made their recording debut in 1990 with the release of "Trailer Park Music."  Recorded at Ubik Sound in Albuquerque, it was co-produced by The Farmers and Manny Rettinger.  The homespun catchy narratives on "Trailer Park Music" revealed the formula they would continue to follow;  jangly guitar pop, vocal harmonies and slightly twisted lyrics.  The album rang true, it was great to hear something as unforced and down to earth as "Trailer Park Music" come out of the local music scene. The following year Ubik sound released   "Carport Thunder  Vol. 1"  a compilation that featured four iconic local bands (The Ant Farmers, The Saddlesores, A Murder of Crows & The Gutterleaves)   The Farmer's contributions (The Ford, Stick I Stand, Elvis Bird & Fraidy Cat) were  recorded at Ubik Sound studio with Manny Rettinger at the controls. These studio tracks, showed the group progressing without veering from  their established sound. Soon after  "Carport Thunder Vol. 1" came out, Bill Mudd left the group and was replaced by Robert Hobbs.

Released in 1993,  "Yarn" finds the band picking the pace up a notch without straying from their signature sound.  Three years removed from their first album, the growth and maturity was evident.  "Yarn" contains some of Carl's best compositions, there's more depth and complexity present both in the music and content.  Released on compact disc,  the digital mix brings more clarity to the instruments and vocals, allowing the subtlety of both to stand out.  "Yarn" came out on the band's own independent label "Nipsey Records" recorded at Winfield Sound in Albuquerque with Don Whittemore co-producing with the band.  It would prove to be the band's only real attempt at commercial success. Two years would pass before the Ant Farmers released another album. "Beautician" came out in 1995, also on Nipsey Records and self described as: "recorded by us at home." The album was a radical departure from "Yarn" the informal live takes, a far cry from the more finished tracks on the previous album.  Once more Carl Petersen's songwriting skills took center stage, the songs on "Beautician" reached a level of maturity and progression beyond those on "Yarn."  With the musicians  playing in a natural and relaxed setting, the heart and soul of the band shines through. Somehow, the band seemed stuck in a holding pattern, buying time or perhaps just tired of the grind.  Bass player, Darrell Sparks was gone, having left to start his own group.  Paula Blanchard a veteran of the Albuquerque music scene was brought in to replace him.

After "Beautician" the band went through a period of instability. First Paula Blanchard left the band, she was replaced by Steve Siegrist, who was then replaced by Michael Henningsen (ex-Strawberry Zots).  However the biggest blow came in 1997 when Jon Little either left or was asked to leave.  In a 2008  press release for the Timbre Obscura podcast (that featured Jon's (Church Camp) and Carl's (Clampett Report) solo projects)  Jon explained that "he was booted out due to his increasingly erratic and unpredictable behavior." From the start Jon's antics drew attention, as Jon explained it to Laura Marrich  "Real palatable sound with just a psycho weirdo front man.....And it worked, because people would go; "Let's see what that Jon Little's gonna do next"  but now his deteriorating mental state was affecting the band's performances.  Jon's  subsequent departure would result in the Ant Farmers breaking up.  Carl Petersen and Robert Hobbs regrouped as  The Webelos,  although Jon remembered it differently "The Webelos were Carl Petersen (vocals,guitar), Eric Kennedy (bass, ex-Elephant) and Jon Little (drums, vocals)" he commented. The group reformed (minus Jon Little) when Michael Henningsen rejoined the band, they also went back to calling themselves The Ant Farmers. With Carl as lead singer, they continued to play around town until their break-up in 1999.  The band never released another album after "Beautician." 

Carl Petersen is now the general manager of the The Weekly Alibi an alternative newspaper in Albuquerque. He continues to compose and record music, much like the Duke City version of  R. Stevie Moore, just with better social skills. He posts his recordings on My Space Music as The Clampett Report or Reportero Clampini.  Jon Little is also still involved in music, he regained his mental health, survived a prison stint and now lives in El Paso,Tx.  He is an activist and an author, having published two poetry collections, "Dixie Deer" and "The Plural of Deer" He has posted a prodigious amount of music under a variety of names including Jon Forrest Little, Church Camp, Space Pants, Serenata Radio, The Before Photos and The Suicide Kit all on My Space Music.  Darrell Sparks, is now a member of the old timey acoustic band, The Rivet Gang, which also includes Eric Johnson (ex-Gutterleaves & Mumble, an old associate of The Ant Farmers). Darrell has also been involved with Selsun Blue and his brother Brett's gothic country duo, The Handsome Family.  Michael Henningsen, besides his work with The Farmers and The Strawberry Zots, is well known as a music writer for The Weekly Alibi.  He now plays with the David Kurtz Band. Paula Blanchard played with A Murder of Crows before she joined the Ant Farmers and upon leaving the band she hooked up with Eric McFadden in Liar and then went on to join Hazeldine.  In October of 2010, the Ant Farmers  reunited for a few concert appearances.  No word yet if any recordings will result from this reunion.

Carl Petersen (top picture)  Jon Forrest Little (on ATV)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Boy Dirrt

Fat Fish & Blok Boyz

Fish Sticks!

Hip Hop's relatively low profile in Albuquerque is puzzling.  I could make an argument that it's the most popular music in the city.  KISS 97.3 has used a heavy rotation of hip hop music to stay at or near the top of the local fm ratings. If we were to survey the stores that still sell music, we would find that rap music out sells most genres.  Somehow the music's popularity has never resulted in a cohesive local scene or a breakout mainstream artist. To that end, Duke City rap moguls, George Fisher and Stevie Melendez have assembled a stable of  rappers, and are now hard at work building up their burgeoning rap collective.  By posting videos on You Tube and producing a steady flow of mix tapes, they've slowly built  on a mix of West Coast Hyphy and Dirrty South Crunk, to spread the gospel to the good folks of Albuquerque and beyond.  Fat Fish Records, founded in 2002, features a roster that includes Stevie B (Melendez) Bamboozle tha Boss (Fisher) Boy Dirrt (the most prolific) Bundlez tha Billionaire, Bill Shakes, G.B.U. (the good, the bad & the ugly) which includes Boy Dirrt, Bamboozle and Jiggie da beast.  Associated acts such as the Blok Boys and Yung Bizzle also have releases and videos out.  In a world where the tallest midget is king, Fat Fish Records is the Duke City's best hope for making some noise on the national hip hop scene.
There's also a number of Hispanic artists who pattern themselves after the O.G. Cali rappers.  Juan Gambino, who hails from Roswell, has had the most success in building an audience outside of New Mexico. Other Hispanic artists like; Romero & Big Rich Tha Don are in the process of developing their talents.  The problem facing the Hispanic rappers and Fat Fish Records, is a lack of local venues, airplay and exposure.  Another problem that plagues Hispanic rappers is that the style is so derivative.  If you've heard one song by Lil' Rob you've heard every song by Lil' Rob.  There is very little innovation in that sub-genre, the soldiers all march in lock step. Outside of Chingo Bling and Baby Bash, none of the Hispanic rapper are willing or able to drop the scowl and try something different.  It's not just limited to the Southwest, Florida's Pit Bull suffers from the same limitations, it's a musical style with a limited audience, that has little chance of  busting out of the regional markets.  The primary difference (beside the musical styles) between rock musicians and rap artists in Albuquerque  is that local rock bands often include musicians not from Albuquerque, thus they will pull up and move if another locale offers more venues or opportunities.   Rappers maintain close ties to their hometowns, openly expressing this in their lyrics and videos.  They pour out their love for the city and state, all the while celebrating the ordinary things about the city that most of us take for granted.  Would James Mercer ever write a song about Albuquerque sunshine?.... probably not!  This loyalty, while commendable, also works to hold them back, as so many local rock musicians have discovered.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Allucaneat- Kidz Eat Free

 "Kidz Eat Free" came out in 1991 on the Ubik Sound label, co-produced by Tim Stroth and Allucaneat.  It stands the test of time, a musical dirty bomb that explodes from the speakers, repulsive and attractive in the same instant.  In 1991, Albuquerque musicians were not in lockstep with the rest of the nation. The local music scene was a speed blender mix of musical influences. Bands were coming up with sounds that were slightly off kilter from the national norm.  Allucaneat was a perfect example, as they transitioned between frat house debauchery and arty introspection with ease.  There's a surprising amount of subtlety and sophistication, rustling beneath the boozy surface of this quartet's only album.  The first thing you notice is Colin Robinson's voice, a rich comprehensible tone that hovers between detachment and intimacy.  However, what truly set Allucaneat apart was Ray's harmonica.  Whether,  floating along in the background or honking away like he had a hell hound on his trail, the harmonica was an integral part of this band's music. The use of a bull roarer (an instrument with roots in aboriginal cultures) also separated  the band from their contemporaries.  Guitarist Damian Wilson plays like buzzards are circling overhead. He furiously fires off every note and riff in his arsenal. Wilson skirts the boundaries between chaos and control, while squeezing an amazing assortment of sounds out of his guitar. No doubt about it, Allucaneat was tight, much tighter than their sloppy drunk live shows would lead you to believe.
To open this album, the band smartly stages a rock opera about self abuse.   Songs about masturbating have been around for a while, some are good (Pictures of Lily) some are bad (She Bop) and some are just crude (I don't wanna be no Catholic Boy).  Someone in the band had a hard-on for Traci Lords, the underage porn queen who reinvented herself as a legit actress.  "lordy miss traci" starts after a raucous intro "told you about traci, my girl traci... lord," the singer pleads and yearns, but it ain't gonna happen "Oh! i wanted to, but she wouldn't let me"   The rhythm section shifts the tempo for the start of  "Yr. Mom" which answers the age old question;  "what's your mom got on?" The closer, "Boner's Hard-on" is a condensed version of the opening track.   "Cumbuahbuah" takes us on a river journey through an intoxicating landscape "It skip glides along on a quiet green stream that is heading it's way to the mouth of the great mother river and then home to sleep" The musical accompaniment echoes  "The End" that opus of murder and incest by The Doors.  The destructive influence of man is evident;  "At this point before, the men in their skiffs, saw the trees on the shore, they towered so tall, but not anymore" A mysterious stranger travels with them, "He's not fluent in their language, though he's picked up on some, he knows  enough, to do what must be done"  Who could the stranger be?, Francis Ford Coppola?  Throughout the song, Damian Wilson's guitar gives the band a sound that's masterfully gorgeous.  While  Ray's  harmonica flits about like a pesky equatorial mosquito.  On "Cumbuahbuah" the group dynamic truly resulted in sheer sonic glory.  
"Doinchay" has most of the vocals buried deep in the mix, making it hard to decipher the lyrics.  Not that it matters, the lyrics are a jumble of surrealistic bullshit,  dark and abstract, like the mind of Picasso.  Colin sings the ridiculous lyrics with conviction,  "man on one knee, his shoe wouldn't fit" or "voodoo lady meditating, eyes in the wall all contemplating" and my personal favorite "standing in judgment with a stomach full of aspirin"  Much like singers who tend to obsess on how words sound, while disregarding clarity or meaning. (Liz Fraser and Chino Moreno for example) Colin turns "Doinchay" into an exercise in vocal calisthenics, at least it had some useful purpose. "Aborigini" opens with the menacing whirl of the bull roarer, every time this song plays I feel a sudden urge to duck.  Anyhow, the fellers were sitting around drinking, when the subject of existentialism came up.  Colin started with "We must perceive God cannot be, for if he was he would besiege" to which Ray answered; "Shut the fuck up and pass me another beer" a determined Colin continued "For if he was, he would revoke, he would deflect, he would protect, he would god!"  To which Ray answered; "Shut the fuck up and pass me another beer"  Feeling shunted Colin exclaimed;  "Hey, I'm feeling a little down.... under, pass me one of those big ass Foster's and I'll show you the way to succeed and the way to suck God"
 "Being on the Ceiling"  allows the entire band to flex their musical muscles, beginning with the instrumental intro and building to the climactic finish. Lyrically the song is a study in minimalism,  "If there was the sky, the ceiling of stars and  you were the aura and you had the way... In my loyal hands, is where you stand."  The frugality of words, coupled with the harmonic motion of the music makes this one of the band's most complete compositions.  Unwavering faith is the subject of "Guilty God"  Jesus Christ had his moments of doubt and pain  "He held out his hands, he held them out for you" fearful all the locals hide their tears of regret. "for you to hold , to help him hold them up" an admonishing voice then adds "you dropped it"  our lack of faith has sealed his fate.  The song stretches across melodic frames as the band switches gears effortlessly, building up a monumental wall of swirling guitar noise.  "Kidz Eat Free" was a powerful combination of poetic imagery, intelligent lyrics and artistic ambition. Allucaneat would also record on the Resin label, releasing a vinyl seven inch. The band which consisted of Colin Robinson (vocals,bass) Damian Wilson (guitar) Ray Gutierrez (harmonica,congas) and Joseph Alan Lujan (drums) also had a track "Ycrad" included on the 1993 New Mexico Music Showcase compilation cd.