Steel for Brains: SfB vs. Psych Fest

A while back, Jonathan asked me to join his small coterie of writers at Steel for Brains. Life meant I couldn’t contribute right away, but I always hoped to get started in early May. When I offered him my Psych Fest diary he said yes before reading a word. After I gave him over 7000, I expected him to pass. Instead he asked for the poor photos I took to go with it.

For over 20 years, Bardo Pond has been chugging along, their thick psychedelic space rock fueling a generation of distortion loving cultural misfits like me. Somehow, in all those years, I’d never made it to one of their many shows. I wasn’t going to miss this chance, and I nabbed a seat on the front row of the Amphitheatre. With my earplugs firmly in place, I closed my eyes and let Bardo Pond wash over me. Psychedelic heavy music has always been a way for me to release my cares and worries; whether played loud enough to make the walls shake or pumped directly into my skull with headphones, it’s transportive and transformative power helps me put things down, aside, or in a new order. It takes a magnet to the iron filings of my jumbled brain. Bardo Pond served to do just that on Saturday, their resonant fuzz a mental refresher that let me not only enjoy their set but to prepare me for more. The day was still young. There were more amazing experiences ahead.


Neil Feather, Sound Mechanic

I met Neil in Baltimore a short lifetime ago. We worked together at the Port Discovery children’s museum, and he patiently introduced me to the improvisational music scene he had been a part of for several decades. He’s one of the people most responsible for opening my ears to the broadest possibilities of music, and I was – and still am – absolutely blown away when he agreed to play the processional and recessional music at my wedding.

Neil’s got a new short form web series called The Sound Mechanic at Channel 9 WPDN’s youtube page. You should check that out ASAP. Below is a concert clip from 2011, where Neil is able to build and develop his themes to a much greater extent.

I haven’t seen Neil in years, but hopefully a Baltimore trip is in my future. It’s been far too long.

Who Is David Bowie?



A disgustingly large number of people in my school don’t even know the name. I need reassuring that it’s just their ignorance.

who is david bowie?

David Bowie was a singer best known for his valiant last stand behind a rental car counter that was being stormed by angry fans who bought Never Let Me DownTo this day, stalwart supporters greet each other with the cry, “Remember the Alamo!” 

Katchor in L.A.

Last week I was in Los Angeles, and the day I arrived I went to a Ben Katchor reading and book signing at the Skirball Cultural Center. He’s a great reader with a wonderful sense of comic timing, and he answered every question asked with patience and insight. Definitely worth your time if he’s anywhere near.

One other note: I’ve been a fan of his for 20-odd years, but having never met him or talked about him with those in the know I’ve always pronounced his name wrong. Hearing it pronounced “Catcher” seems odd after decades of “Catch-or” in my own thoughts and speech. Just another one to add to the long list of mangled pronunciations that have lept from my tongue.

Missed Anniversary

With this week marking the tenth year since the invasion of Iraq I realize I missed a personal milestone. I started my first blog on January 27th, 2003, where I wrote a bunch about the run-up to the war amongst other things. I long ago forgot the log-in and email I used to set up my first blogger account, and only the final vestiges of that first home still exist. But being a packrat, I do have a copy of my original introductory post, minus all the html markups but with all the weird uses of punctuation, grammar and syntax still intact:


Hello my adoring public (currently limited to the carefully chosen):

I have jumped in with Millions — yes, MILLIONS — of my fellow citizens to begin to blog. I thought initially of starting this with “to blog or not to blog”, but, wisely, I must say, did not. It would be interesting to do a search to see how many times that phrase has been used – I personally have never seen it but I don’t actually read many of these. In fact, I think I’ve read like six. I have read about them more than I’ve read them per se. Strange.

Regardless, this is my hello to the world writ small (only for you, my teeming few), an opening volley in a war for relevance.I will try to update this relatively regularly – my goal is daily, but I’m sure that won’t last a week – with thoughts, viewpoints, opinions and rants. I have a feeling that it will often be a rant as I am, underneath my caring facade, a raging ass. And if you’re unsure what exactly a raging ass is, you should be.

Tomorrow – nitpicking “LOTR: The Two Towers.”

Ten years gone and nothing changes.