Been remiss on updates and the like... business partner, Aidge and I are determined to remedy our (really my) procrastination/sloth.
It's Sat. night here at the Shore and ya can't get a better local music lineup:
Blue Highways at Sea Girt's Reef'n Barrel - stellar band, always 'on'. Axeman, 'Bunkmeister' Strout is one of our area's best guitarists (and here in Jamtown, that's sayin' sumthin').
Todd Robbin's Band at Belmar's Joe's Surf Shack - he's a fantastic picker and singer, but I haven't seen him with his band (yet).
The Harmony Project at Belmar's Irish/Sheleigh Club - fun bar, band... if you listen even a little bit, you'll be struck by the musicianship of these guys who look like they're there for shits'n'giggles. Their blended vocal work is no joke. Roger's guitar work on Dead Flowers is not to be missed. Joel Krauss, Frank D'Agostino and The Dodger give out a great time and excellent music consistently (I've seen them a lot.).
See some live music, enjoy St. Valentine's weekend... and call us for your guitar and amp needs please.
Rock on & God bless,
Jammin' Josey Whales Kane
Went to mass this morning to pray for my brother... for him to catch enough stripers for all his friends AND his favorite brother, me. Oftentimes Gus sacrifices fishing in the beautiful Atlantic to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass ('oftentimes' is the end of November ... 'till the end of April, when his boat is out of the water).
But I digress... today's Gospel reading had to deal with Jesus answering questions regarding divorce from the buggering church courtesans/Pharisees. Well, we know how that goes, but our priest shortened his homily to inform us of 2 special folks in attendance. Seems a certain John and Mary were today celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Topical gospel reading, eh? Guess these two didn't forget Our Lord's admonishments... for 5 decades.
Well, after the homily, the priest asked them to come forward and renew their wedding vows. I'm not sure if it was the devil, or my pea-sized attention span that shifted my focus to comedy as I re-imagined the priests words:
"Do you, Mary, vow to continue to stay away from cabana boys, the pool cleaner guy and any gigolos you may happen upon?"
"And do you, John, promise to remember that your secretary's ass is still off-limits, to keep passing up that demon coke and stay away from that artist lady who's studio is only three doors down from your office?"
Somehow I re-focused and listened to the end of the priest's blessing of their marriage. All of us in the pews gave the couple a nice applause. It wasn't really a big affair, this celebration. After all, it was just a weekday mass and the renewing of the vows wasn't a planned thing - the priest took it upon himself and it was quick.
They went to return to their seats, the husband first... then his wife... she turned and had to pause to wipe tears from her eyes.
The borderline sinful comedic indulgence I entertained in my head mere moments before was annihilated by the beauty of life together lived the way our faith prescribed. Mary cried tears of joy and love, rightfully proud of the commitment and accomplishment of the marriage that she and John created and worked on and through, successfully and happily. This was a big affair. It was a marriage after all. She and her husband took it seriously and they won - and doubtless, they''ll continue to win.
I didn't know them (I don't know them), but their stuff is real - and extremely admirable. That's the stuff I want for my wife and myself.
Off to a rockin' start thankfully - 9 years of our own happy, blessed marriage, Ivanice and I celebrated just last week. I thank Mary and John for the dynamite example they showed all of us at mass this morning. God bless those two.
Suggested listening: Anniversary Song by Cowboy Junkies
You're a bit wary if you have the outgoing/gregarious and reserved/bashful sides of yourself always punching each other in the fuckin' face when it comes time to write - share, blog, whatever... for the dual purposes of marketing and earnestly sharing about what you feel is a God-given thing. Blogging/marketing time is not the time to think, "Oh, you're just like every guy and girl out there who doesn't think twice about spewing every nuance of their life on to social media as if people actually give a shit or are waiting on the edge of their seats for your next self-indulgent post."
Here, now, I wanna blog/market/inform y'all as to why we're recycling guitars. Short answer is expedience, environmental positives and the common sense of these two things when married with what I see is a need in the music-making market and my urge to make/create stuff that's neat, beautiful, full of utility and affordable -without being imported. Can I say...??? Every time some douche bag boutique guitar-maker (shit, or Fender or Taylor or G&L or...) says, "We're excited to offer a new line of affordable guitars", you can bet your ass these fuckin' things' origins are Asia & thus are fouling up our air, oceans and/or ground water from their 'new state of the art facility' in Sukme City, China, South Korea or Indonesia. "Affordable new lines..." are never coming from Jackson, MS or Laramie, WY or Paterson, NJ. Douche bags.
But I digress...
I always liked wood and furniture. Having two older brothers who were better at chasing girls and sports than they were at chores, my little brother Gus and I had to do any and all chainsawing and carpentry work needed, no matter how inexperienced and sucky we were at it. My dad also had me assemble furniture kits early on to 1.) give me a gift and 2.) to get a piece of furniture (hopefully done nicely) on the cheap... killing two birds with one stone he reckoned, I reckon. I enjoyed the task and before university, I took a job at furniture refinisher's shop. I learned finishing and thus my dad's kits (yup, he kept getting them for my brother & I) started turning out to be pretty nice. Fast forward to post-university times...
I took a job framing houses with a crew of Italian guys from Naples. Guido (I shit you not - that was his name) and his brothers & cousins were really hard workers and not the friendliest folks - at first (brevity keeps me from detailing how working with them and bumping into them over the years, I found out that these guys and their wives were truly friendly and wonderful people). Anywho, at lunch, they would quickly grab scrap pieces of wood and hammer them into sturdy little seats - perfect for chilling just a bit while having a sandwich. Maybe it doesn't take much for me, or maybe it's just the way God made me, but I kinda marveled at this. It wasn't long at all before I was taking those scraps home, cutting them to size, screwing them together instead of nailing them together, sanding the shit out of them and putting a finish on them that was way better then such a piece of scrap furniture deserved. These pieces however, looked presentable ... and could stand up to drunk guys and gals doing stunts on them at parties.
This continued on and mostly off over the years. . . and at present, I still have some black walnut, red oak and catalpa wood left over from harvesting trips to PA in 2001 after a wicked storm felled shitloads of trees in Montgomery County. I still harvest/collect when I think I can hide the bounty from my wife. Now I see harvest-able stuff as guitar embryos, and I ain't into abortion of any kind.
Supposedly short story endless, mass produced guitars made oversees are generally shit* and end up every day on eBay, other on-line market places or in dumpsters. They're basically made as toys for presentation. That many of them actually work, often fairly decently, is more a function of the availability of well-equipped factories and the fact that the most basic lutherie mysteries of the electric guitar have been solved.
Bill Collins, the late, great founder of Texas' Collins Guitars put it this way, roughly, about imports... "They're made by factory workers. There are so few jobs in the USA for someone who wants to work in the guitar making industry, and the pay is so low that for the most part, all those positions are filled by passionate guitar freaks or passionate woodworkers. The better product comes from here for that reason." Of course he was right, is right. Throw in the lousy (unfair) import/export terms with these importing countries and the way they pollute our world and you have most of my reasons for not buying imports.
Recycle them though. Why not? They're already here, languishing, underplayed, unappreciated (maybe deservedly so)... but they have good bones. True - because their good bones were made with/via the stolen intellectual property of the Orville Gibsons, Leo Fenders and Adolph Rickenbackers of the (American) world.
The missing link then, between great vintage guitars and great, new artisan-made guitars is not the cheap imports (good or not) flooding the internet and the brick and mortar shops still in existence (thank God for them). It is Partscasters, or what I make - Recycled, Tone Deluxed jam-able art (ok, guitars). That's pretty much the 'why' . That and I kinda feel God with me when I do this shit.
From-the-tree awesome custom guitars are coming ('bout a year and a half away), but there are too many cool, piece-of-shit Asian-ass guitars flitting around... It's a hoot to fix 'em up, recycle 'em proper-like and get them out in the world, making beautiful music. Please take one out on the dance floor with ya.
Got this sculpture at a yard sale for a dollar. . . art of this caliber is priceless, damnit! The previous owner, obviously a Philistine of the highest (or lowest) order, was discarding it as a knick-knack.
Anywho, this piece symbolizes the deathless love of minha esposa e eu ('my baby and me' (Portuguese)). You see, after we were dating for a bit, I got some new Polk Audio speakers and trying them fell on a summer Sunday afternoon. After some failed and frustrating attempts at marrying the tuner with the speakers with the CD player, Shakedown Street blared beautifully through minha lil' apartamanto. Now I didn't specifically put that song on - the CD player was already loaded with 5 disparate albums - but whenever one hears the opening bars of Shakedown Street, one can't help but groove, which I did. Immediately. Gleefully.... and with gusto.
I shook it quickly into the kitchen to see how the volume and clarity carried and my eyes beheld something much cooler than the great disco attempt of the greatest band on earth ( top 3 at least)... my baby was steppin' it to Shakedown Street like a tour veteran, as she catered to her/our rice.
This IS a big deal. Yea, we're dating at this point, but she's right off the boat from a little town outside of Brasilia and her English is, well, I'm not sure she wasn't using me at least a little bit for my language tutelage. Just kidding, but her English did suck and there was no way she ever heard that song before, but she was jammin' to the 'Street' just like I was. We were in sync and she was soon an avid Dead fan. She not too later divulged however, that it wasn't the Grateful Dead who was her favorite band.
"Who," I asked, "Gilberto Gil, Astrid, Antonio Jobim?"
"Yea, who's your favorite band?"
I thought the language issue was just rearing its head again, but she continued, singing...
"It makes no difference, where I go..."
At that point I reckoned she could use me for my (relative) English prowess all she freakin' wanted.
I especially like how (or that) the two skeletal lovers are actually french kissing. Ain't it cool?