Booker T Jones June 25, 2013, at the El Rey Theatre

Headed to the El Rey Theatre tonight to see Booker T. Jones, whose new album “Sound The Alarm” was released today. I’ve heard the album, and it’s a fresher mix of sounds than his 2011 release, “The Road From Memphis” but then that album was more of a tribute to his own influences, so it’s fitting.

The album even opens with a cool old clip of audio from a show where Booker T is introduced, to what sounds like an old school crowd, and the whole clip is scratched in by a DJ, then the album kicks off with a groovy bassline, and of course, a whirling organ flying around making things happen.

On this new album, I particularly enjoyed the instrumental “Feel Good”. The song does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a strut, a happy jaunt down a sunlit street, full of harmony and melody, subtle touches and an anchor of a beat holding it all down. Hopefully Booker T will play this one tonight, I’ll be looking out for it!

More to come after the show, hoping to get some pictures, and hope to get up close too. I want to see what the bass set up is, because it is silky but fat on this record. Not a lot of high end to it, just round and chunky in the middle, no growl either. All tone, ala motown or of course, being Booker T, Stax. 

For those that don’t know, Booker T Jones was the driving force behind the M.G.‘s who were Stax records’ house band. and is a Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductee. The man is a legend, and everybody knows a Booker T Jones hook, even if you don’t know his name. I was lucky enough to be working at Bug Music in 2011 when “The Road From Memphis” was released, so I got to see how the record was put together, and had a blast with that experience. It will be fun to see the band at work tonight.

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The Illustrious Beaver

So when I was a kid, my front teeth came in a little early, and they were huge.

Yes I had massive incisors, and as cruel as kids can be, I was dubbed with the nickname, “Beaver Teeth”.

To this day, the nickname haunts me. At work, a friend who found out about the nickname planted this thing on my desk. It’s a clipping of a crazy beaver from some commercial a few years back.

Thanks to the internet, here you go. http://youtu.be/aCTKiwzxaRc

Come to think of it, I don’t even remember the commercial anymore, but it was a superbowl ad, apparently.

Enjoy!

Call me beaver, and I’ll punch you.

More car progress. A new steering wheel.

My car needed a steering wheel really badly.

Today, amazon brought my ar a little something. An old school grant steering wheel.
A cheapie, temporary, but it looks pret killer, and felt amazing to drive with today.

Here’s a couple of pics from earlier today when I switched it out

Sweet. next, in the mail is a manual choke cable, to help with warming the car up.
She stumbles a little bit off the line too, so I think an accelerator pump cam is in line for he carburetor. Maybe even a bigger gas squirter.

Had a lot of fun wrenching today. I think I am going to install a new gauge cluster temporarily, until I get the interior wiring all wrapped up. That means I have to figure out how to take out an old rusty plug that is sitting stuck in my soft and delicate aluminum intake manifold. Hope that goes well, or I’ll be spending a few hundred on a manifold, and tearing the engine apart again, just when I got her running nice and sweet.

Anyway, off to bed now. Cheers.

Father’s day brew day. My first Bohemian Pilsner brew.

Woke up early this morning to an alarm I’d set, a reminder that today was brew day, and that there was pancake mix. Basically I was reminding myself to make pancakes, and prepare for a long all grain brew day.

Right out of the shower I was thinking about my shopping list. I needed some more hose, to transfer beer through my “Duda Diesel Plate Chiller” and I needed a garden hose to run water through it as well. So up early, and off to Cheapo Depot for some hardware.

I got away cheap, only $35 for what I needed plus a couple of tools for the coronet. A short stubby screwdriver to get to a couple of though screws, and a kit to retrieve small dropped parts in narrow nooks and crannies. I don;t know how many times I wished I’d had one, but didn’t. Of course, now I’ll probably never drop another small screw into a cylinder again, but hey, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

I got home and got on the internet for some information, and noticed via the google doodle that it was fathers day. Looked up at a pic of my late pops, and sort of reflected for a second. Almost tweeted something, but figured it was better left in my thoughts, as it’s really important, and to tweet about it, would be to trivialize it, and the flood of memories that come back every year when I see that it’s father’s day.

He was young in this pic, he was never really old either.

He was young in this pic, he was never really old either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I digress.

Brew day.

Image

I’ve had a good liter of lager yeast starter going for about three days now, and it’s bubbling along happily. Temp in here is low 70’s southern California glory, so it’s all good.

Some may ask, “I thought lagers needed to live in lower temps?”

According to what I’ve read, just about everywhere, the lager yeast is fine at low 70’s for propogation, that is the reproductive cycle. All we’re doing with a yeast starter is trying to increase the amount of viable yeast that goes into the wort, and we will still be conditioning and lagering the beer for some 6 to 8 weeks, so yes, you can grow a yeast starter at nice ale temps. I still wouldn’t go above low 70’s, and it would probably be super clean and nice to have a lagered yeast starter, but who’s got time for that?

My recipe was super simple. my Buddy Ben is something of a beer mentor for me, and I have had much success applying his teachings, along with my own philosophy to my recipes. Here it is in it’s simple glory:

  • 10 lbs Pilsner Malt
  • 1 lb Vienna Malt
  • 1 oz Noble Hop @ 60 min
  • 1 oz Noble Hop @10 or 5 min. (Same variety as previous Noble Hop
  • Note, I chose Spalter Spalt Hops, a Bohemian Hop which is supposed to make my pilsner taste like Pilsner Urquell, which is what I’m after. The book “Clone Brews” (Szamatulski) asks for a Saaz hops. I may try both recipes.
  • White Labs German Lager Yeast WLP 830

Pretty simple, and I’m hoping for a nice crisp lager.

Here are a couple of pics from the brew day.

http://imgur.com/a/Rkdy8#0

 

Cheers! I’ll post a pic at the beers various stages. This thing is gonna take something like 6 weeks to lager in the fridge.

 

Review – Black Sabbath – 13

The massively influential Black Sabbath recorded their new record, “13”, after the departure of Bill Ward in 2012. It’s out today, and I sat down to give it a good listen. 

The album is produced by the now legendary Rick Rubin, who I was turned via the Red ot Chili Peppers and Slayer, so you know he’s versatile.If you have any doubts about Rubin’s Metal production values, go listen to Reign In Blood again. 

Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Puscifer) plays the drums on it, which must have been pretty rough, as its a lot of doomy, downtempo stuff, not a lot of room for the faster rolls, or flashier drum show, but plenty of room for MASSIVE hard hits.  I can only imagine Wilk’s joy at being able to perform with one of the most influential bands in the heavier genres. 

Track 1 – End Of The Beginning 

This song gave me a feeling of anticipation. The anticipation of a new Sabbath album, and a tone for what the rest of the songs would be like. The long, droney intro really took me back. Sounds a lot like their classic “Nativity In Black”, and it really got me into a Sabbath frame of mind. The sound is crisp, deep, and heavy. The bass is loaded with growl in the mid frequencies, and bass down below. Classic Sabbath here. No frill, no flash. Just heavy. 

2 – God Is Dead? (Single) 

Ozzy’s vocals really shine on this one. After seeing him shuffle around on TV in a haze, this song reminds you that OZZY is in fact an awesome vocalist. While he may not show off that much of a range, his voice is the perfect accompaniment to the tunes. Just like the lyrics, and title, his voice has that classic OZZY aloof, nasal, Brit, eerie tone. This is a slower one, and the guitar mostly sits on an arpeggio in between heavy distortion blasts, and a simple chorus. Again, classic Sabbath, thought this one may have felt a little more like a later OZZY solo tune. Also, it seemed to be a personal tune for Ozzy. The lyrics are about a guy who sees all the signs, who knows better, but somehow, still does not believe that God is Dead. I just think Ozzy feels guilty because he helped kill him, I kid. 

These lyrics, are a bit telling:

“To safeguard my philosophy 
Until my dying breath 

 

I transfer from reality 

Into a mental death 

 

I empathize with enemy 
Until the timing’s right 

 

With God and Satan at my side 
From darkness will come light

I watch the rain 

And it turns red 

 

Give me more wine 
I don’t need bread 
These riddles that live in my head 
I don’t believe that God is dead 
God is dead”

 

3- Loner

The most exciting moments in this tune for me were when Ozzy hollers “Alright Now” and “Come On Now”. Total throwback feel, and to me, it felt a bit like an afterthought, like the touch that the song needed in that moment. The bridge picks up again, gets a little faster, a little more aggressive. This tune is okay on its own, but in this album, and only on track 3, it sort of feels too similar to the songs right before it, for me. If this were a set list, I imagine it would be switched up a bit. 

4 – Zeitgeist

This tune has a Planet Caravan feel to it, with a nice acoustic guitar opening it up with a bongo, and a fretless bass. The bass is mellower on this one, as fretless tends to be. Hard to tell if it is actually, but it has a bit of that MWAH tone that fretless tend to get. I assume that’s Wilk on the conga, doing his best to hold back. Beautiful balance between the guitar bass and vocals, but that little drum in there just seems weird to me. The chorus on the vocals definitely helps with the old school feel. 

Main thing on this one, the outro guitar solo. Just so sweet, beautiful, and you don’t need to be into heavy metal to appreciate it. Not screeching, just subtle, smooth, and full of feel. Excellent playing there at the end, really just perfectly executed. 

5 – Age Of Reason

A head bobber. Back to heaviness in a big way, and has a real 70’s feel to it. Almost Iron Man, but with a better bridge, full of awesome bass runs and a little lead crescendo to spice it up. Some distonal note combinations give the bridge an interesting feel, with the dissonance shimmering for a second on top of the distortion. Wilk gets to let loose for a second in this one, and he does well to make the most of it! His drums in the little transition chorus are tasteful, not overdone, and really stay with the feel of the record. I actually just emailed my drummer, who is a Wilk fanatic plus a Sabbath fan, and told him he needs to buy this record. He will not be disappointed. 

Wailing guitar solo really steps up front on this one and rips. The solo felt like total inspired improvisation, and was done really well. This song’s production really stood out to me, Kudos to Rubin on that, however the actual last note on the tune, sounds a bit out of place.  Weird. 

6 – Live Forever

Big punchy intro into a mid tempo stomper, Ozzy seems to be singing either about the band, or himself. I love that he casually throws in a “Whatever” in this line. 

 

“Well I Don’t Wanna Live Forever 
But I Don’t Want To Die… 
I May Be Dreaming or Whatever 
I Live Inside A Lie!”

 

Seems like Ozzy has been hanging out in Hollywood too long. Good thing they got him back in a studio and singing with the group, and not another solo project.  Sounds like he needed it too. . . 

“Days Pass By Too Soon 
Waiting For The Rising Of The Moon 
No Escape From Here 
Facing Death But Is Your Conscious Clear?”

 

Simple little song, until you get to the solo about 3/4 of the way through. Toward the end, there is a cool little interplay between the solo and Ozzy, trading bars and jamming a bit. It’s a short song, even at almost 5 minutes long when compared to the other 7 to 8 minute songs that make up most of the album. This one felt a little bit out of place, but that’s probably why its buried down in track 6 spot. 

 

7 – Damaged Soul

In classic Sabbath style, Ozzy sings about all things dark, there isn’t a stanza in here that doesn’t mention descending into hell, or the battle between good and evil, as personified by the Satan and God. 

“Death’s hand and the crazy, I can’t stand the light of day
Watching all the victims on their knees as they pray.
God of the almighty never answers their call
Satan is just waiting for the righteous to fall to him.”

Very Dark, very Sabbath, and it does also have a pretty ripping guitar solo toward the end. The most interesting thing to me on this one though, is how the Drums and Bass back up the solo toward the end. Wilk and Butler are ripping, you can hear Butler hit the strings hard enough to get a fat tone out of the bass, and he really lays into it with Wilk. The whole end solo is rivaled by the feel of the rhythm section, and that is really more than I expected. Very good tune. 

8 – Dear Father 

In the beginning of this track, you get to hear (I think) Butler running his hands up and down the bass neck with the effects on. Whatever that sound is, its heavy and waiting to rip. 

Then you get into the lyrics, and they’re dark in a different way. Dealing with an awful father, a life ruined by abuse, the lead character in the tune is telling his father about the wrongs done to him. As the song goes on, you realize it’s not a biological father, it’s a priest. Probably a priest trying to induct a new member to the singing swallows boy’s choir, if you know what I mean. 

The song is about accountability, the victim lets the priest know. 

“Can you sleep at night? 
When you close your eyes, do you think of all the pain from your lies? 
Or do you deny, you’re responsible for the victims of the sins you devised? 
What you gonna tell them, when they ask you well then? 
Is your conscience brewed in your heart? 
There is no exception, when you seek redemption 
For all the lives that you’ve torn apart! 

Your molestations of the cross you defiled 
A man once holy, now he spies and reviles 
You took possession when confessing my sins 
And now you have to face whatever death brings, yeah! 

Dear Father, forsaken 
You knew what you were doing 
In silence, your violence 
Has left my life in ruins”

To me, the crazy thing about this, is that it’s probably the darkest song on the record, the most down to earth, and yet, its the one that deals with the evil that men do, not the supernatural struggle between Satan and do gooders. Really poignant at the moment too, and just very interesting lyrics. 

The lyrics almost overshadow the song, but toward the end, Sabbath leads us back into a riff worthy of being the last on this album, cuts short, then a nice, deep heavy lightning strike and some rain. It almost felt like it was circling back around to the intro to the song “Black Sabbath”, on their debut self titled album. 

All in all, it’s a great record, albeit already very familiar. There isn’t a whole lot of new ground broken, besides maybe Wilk playing so mellow, and the lyrics to “Dear Father”  really stood out to me. Other than that, classic Sabbath here. People don;t want to hear Sabbath reinvent themselves. If doom metal has taught us anything, it’s that people want to hear Sabbath. I don’t think this would have been as important of a record back in the Alternative music days, but now with everybody emulating Sabbath’s early work and sludging, droning, or slowing it up, it’s really refreshing to hear the pioneers get back on their collective horse, and remind us why they were so massively influential in the first place. 

 

 

Got my coronet home, and cleaned her out a little bit. Taking a look around.

Finally got to clean up the interior a little

Tore out most of the rotting carpet, put in the extra seat I had. Can’t really upholster them till the paint gets done, so for now this is it.

before

http://i.imgur.com/3Uv41c1.jpg

after

http://i.imgur.com/GtcTnhk.jpg

Engine bay, I didn’t really get to get all that much into it, but here’s a little sample before and after to give you an idea what I’m gonna end up with.

Cleaned up the fender a tiny bit just to see what I’m working with. Lots of potential. Really clean. Proud of my engine bay paint job too!

before

http://i.imgur.com/kvn1CFG.jpg

after

http://i.imgur.com/xiswsbV.jpg

finally, just wiped down the engine a bit.

From this:

http://i.imgur.com/Pjrj2xJ.jpg?1

to this:

http://i.imgur.com/B185rjB.jpg

 

Shifter knob button was busted for about ten years, FINALLY fixed that, thanks to some members of the forum FBBO (For B Bodies only) the absolute best source for info on my car.

Before:

http://i.imgur.com/6pKAZdi.jpg

after:

http://i.imgur.com/do1Wm02.jpg

Cool assortment of random junk I found in the car while cleaning her out:

http://i.imgur.com/tPcwPzU.jpg

That’s a Tiffany Belt Buckle for Coca Cola! Where, or when the hell that got in the car, I’ll likely never know! The shoe bears my ex gf’s name, and the led zeppelin Houses Of The Holy was a regular in the tape deck. Old School for sure. The thumb wrap thing is from my days in a mailroom, from about 1998 in Arizona. Total nostalgia blast.

Here’s the incredible amount of junk I found in the car, this is what 10 years in storage, and collecting parts will do.

http://i.imgur.com/oUqBalF.jpg

Emptied out the car except for a spare fan belt, some tools, assorted fluids and a terrible looking spare tire. Realize I need a fire extinguisher, a jack for my car, and to tighten up my rear view mirror if I’m going to be driving her around. Car feels SO Much faster with all the junk out of it, much more responsive. Still haven’t broken it all the way, so I haven’t been able to hit the gas, but it feels great.

I do hear an exhaust leak developing, and that’s a bummer, as the shop should have caught that, but I’ll deal with it. Just happy to have her home and start wrenching in earnest

Bonus find, one of the absolute heaviest nostalgia blasts, and coolest items found in my car, was this completely blown out t shirt that a 19 year old Fred put in the car as a seat cover for the passenger. I found it all in the springs of the seat, completely torn up. Only the front survived. hahah

Awesome. http://i.imgur.com/lxxCDH7.jpg