Dessert & The Desert

14 06 2010

Well alright!  We made our way out last weekend to Joshua Tree for a couple days of debaucherous hilarity.  Losing our car in the dark parking lot of Pappy & Harriet’s…lost purses, lost cameras,  rides in cars with strangers, more rides in more cars with different strangers, climbing through windows, and seeing one of the most amazing bands on the planet!  The Sadies.  Dallas Good, Travis Good, Mike Belitsky, and Sean Dean. A better than perfect mix of Psychedelic Country, Garage, and Canadian Surf Tunes (Imagine that!).  These guys are so bizarre and cool.  They’re like a Charm Of Hummingbirds attacking Tippi Hedron in a phone booth!  This is my third time hearing them live, up close and personal (Check the photos).  The desert can be incredible all on it’s own but when the Sadies are added to the mix of rocky desert scenery, there is some well placed rock…and no telling what’s gonna happen.  We managed to find a tiny bungalow for the weekend in the middle of nowhere with a kitchen and a view.  The Rimrock Ranch. DO NOT GO THERE!!!  I just might  need the room for myself!  Great folks, nice surroundings, Petticoat Junction style aluminum pool, and a nice doggy that hangs around in the dirt then invites himself in for the night if you give him a leftover Rigatoni Noodle.  Then next, you’ve got your Pappy & Harriet’s.  This is where you can go and listen to raunchy bands while having  the most impossibly delicious Blackened Catfish Sandwich and sweet Homemade Strawberry Shortcake, then ask for a lid for your Iced Tea and have the wonderful waitress Madeleine tell you with a smile  ” You’re shit-out-of-luck Bitches!”  “No lids for the plastic cups.”   The whole weekend was one crazy, dusty Dune Buggy Hayride to Heaven!

It was great to meet and talk to The Late, Great Jimmy Bryant’s son John who just happened to be our neighbor for the weekend.   He’s busy making a documentary about his father entitled “Stratosphere Boogie”.  Keep an eye out for it!   Everyone was so entertaining!  I’m sure I was too.  Knocking on everyone’s door to no avail at 1:00 am after realizing that the key to our rented Love-Nest was still in the invisible car at Pappy & Harriet’s black-hole parking lot after the show.  Using my brain, I decided to Reverse-Defenestrate myself through the Bedroom window, nearly breaking my neck before the bed below me broke my fall.  Hooray!  This is probably way too much information for all of the casual readers of this sporadic blog….all two and a half of you!   Oh, by the way, I still have a Guitar Shop and you need to go there very soon and throw money at me, then go to the Desert.  It’ll do you some Good!  The Brothers Good that is!  Go see the Sadies when they come around…just be sure to mind your P’s & Q’s!!!

Fresh Lumber

8 06 2010

Howdy, and welcome to June!  Things have gone pretty nuts around here.  The genius squad at the City Of Los Angeles has decided to cut down some 80 year old trees. I’ve had to endure loud grinding noises for over two weeks and they’ve prevented people from parking in the already depressed shopping area.  NO PARKING signs were posted way before and way after the work was to be completed…GENIUS!  This must be phase one of the Stimulating Package!  To the city’s credit, they did replant the sidewalk with the smallest twigs of trees imaginable.  It’s great now with zero shade in the afternoon.  ZERO. GREAT!  However there is some good news…one of my dream guitars just reared it’s ugly little head in the shop.  It’s a mid 1950’s Harmony Stratotone H88. I had one of these years ago and always regretted selling it.  These things are just plain nasty.  They have a big fat neck-through design (probably one of the first guitars to do so) and the pickups are hot, stinky, and filthy.  Sadly this one has a cracked pickguard and missing knobs but that’s part of the “cool” with a guitar like this.  It’s a dirty, broke-down and busted, genuine blues flavoured 18-wheeled shot of whiskey washed down with a bite of the most greasy fried chicken ever committed to a gullet…get in line!   I can’t believe that I’ve already found the stack-pot style knobs and missing bridge but I’m leaving the pickguard alone…keeping the funk in the trunk just a bit.

Look at that cute little headstock!  What ever happened to the Atomic Age? So what if it’s missing a String Post?  I LOVE IT!!!  What’s next for me and my Sweetie?  Heading out to Joshua Tree for a relatively quiet and relaxing couple of days, except for when we go to Pappy & Harriet’s  to see The Sadies.   If you don’t know these guys who come all the way from Canada to entertain the masses, get to know them!  The Brothers Good (yes, that’s their last name) can rock the shit out of any house.  I hope I don’t suffer Heat Exhaustion or Leprosy…or, God forbid, a Love Hangover?  Casting my fate and three sheets to the wind has always been my specialty.

Gayness & Guitars

20 05 2010

Are some guitars more Gay than others? I just heard a story on NPR about how the Census might provide some other entities with statistics who are wanting to take advantage of that information for the purpose of marketing their products or services to Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered people.  I don’t think there’s any way I might even try to spell things out for these folks, or anyone for that matter,  who might want to buy a guitar, amp or anything… a sandwich?  I mean, I don’t want to know anything except for the fact that you might enjoy my shop and think you were treated right.  This is a big problem for me…this is how Nazi Germany got it’s groove on…thanks to IBM and their newly developed Punch-Card system they were able to find out just a little too much about people.  The Census might be just fine but if only left in a very Grey-Area kind of way…I mean, why do I need to know if your skin is green to sell you a guitar?  People are people so let’s try to get over it.  The money or social program that’s made available for regions where this sort of information makes itself useful should come to town regardless.  Not for the discrimination or advantage of marketing.  Demographics my ass!  If I had to rely on any kind of statistic that I filled out on a form I probably couldn’t sell a guitar to myself…but a lot of people are trying to sell them to me because they’re hurting.  Really hurting.  It’s been said that in times of trouble the only things that keep selling are Liquor, Sex and Music.  As far as I can see, Liquor and Sex have won this time.  The mentality of this joint could maybe use an overhaul…or maybe just a U-Haul.…and, well, I Love you too Baby!  Now for something on the lighter side…Chow down on this!


6 05 2010

Okay, here’s a nice picture for you to ponder for the next few days.

How long can it remain to be six to ten?

If six…turned out to be nine….

Mike Watt’s Les Paul Signature Bass

26 04 2010

Les Is More. The Mike Watt Les Paul Signature Bass.

Every now and again, when he’s not on tour, my old friend Mike Watt either goes flying down the steep hill in front of my pad ringing his bicycle bell while simultaneously shouting my name to see if I’m home, creating a wild swirling Doppler Effect….or sometimes he’ll just foist and come up to the door and we’ll drink coffee and I’ll be served a history lesson of all things from Pelicans to the Indigenous Indians who inhabited San Pedro before the Spaniards killed them off.  History Lesson Pt 3?  To the point.  He’s been busy touring with Iggy & The Stooges in France and soon the rest of Europe.  In the mean time I’ve been entrusted to bring his Mid 70’s Les Paul Signature Bass up to running order.  This thing has been bouncing around his practice pad for at least nineteen years without a case and has a multitude of rattles, bowed neck and a tailpiece that’s just about as tight as a prick in a shirtsleeve.  No problem, I’ll fix her right up!  We’ve decided to go with a Hipshot 5G400C replacement bridge that requires no modification and has better features all around including individual saddle height adjustment!  How novel is that?   Normally I’m not one for aftermarket parts but the original OEM Bridge leaves a lot to be desired.   After figuring out where some of the rattles were coming from, ie:  loose truss rod, the low impedance electronics hanging loose beneath the selector knob and worn out bridge saddles with lateral (sideways) movement.  ( I forgot to mention this rare guitar has two outputs.  One for Low Impedance for recording and a High Impedance for live applications.)   The rattle continued and after much head scratching I found that all of the washers under the tuner ferrules were loose from the ferrules not being flush with the face of the headstock. It was maddening because the rattle caused by these washers seemed to transfer down the neck to the body.  You could put your ear to the body and it sounded like the rattle was coming from within.  Anyway, I think I’ve got it licked.  Two more things of mention…the pickup bezel is not original to this guitar.  When Mike bought it, the original was cracked and he asked me to fabricate something…I chose a piece of Mahogany and it’s been installed there ever since.   The autograph at the tail end is none other than the man himself, LES PAUL, who duly imparts the message…”To Mike,  Keep Pickin’,  Les Paul”.   Lester Polfus, Rhubarb Red, Les Paul… Rest In Peace and Keep Pickin”!

(Click on the photo for super fun detailed action…)

Talk To Me.

11 04 2010

If only I could come up with some kind of innovative genius notion like this for guitar players. Hmmmmmmmm….?

Excuse me while I puke. …Whoah Nellie! I guess I just figured out what this glob of shit is…It’s The Colonel’s version of Chicken Cordon Bleu…at least they could hire a photographer that doesn’t make it look so disgusting….or is that even possible?
I’m sorry but this looks like Sarah Palin to me…the most horrid, caustic, ignorant and poisonous kind of thing one might ingest.

With Saccharine and Trust

13 03 2010

One more post regarding the Reactionaries show. It’s always been an amazing experience when seeing Saccharine Trust. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen them dozens of times. They opened the show at Harold’s for the Reactionaries Record Release Party a few weeks back.  Just a handful of records were released, melding jazz, punk, funk, spoken word…you name it, but all worth a listen. I must say these guys are on par but perhaps a different par with the Minutemen or any other L.A. band that truly had, and still has great vision. Their music and live performances are second to none. Joe Baiza and Jack Brewer should be forever sewn at the hip to prevent the disintegration of this band ever again.  They took about ten years off and are back stronger than ever for the last couple of years. Here are a couple shots granted for use here by photographer Matthew Widmark who documented the live performance of PAGANICONS at Harold’s.  San Pedro is finally coming of age! Again!

There’s plenty of stuff on the Internet if you’re not familiar with this band.  Too much for me to post here.  Here’s a link to Matthew’s pictures of the entire event.  Thanks Matt!  Great Shots of a night to remember.  Check out the Unknown Instructors CD if you get a chance. It features an array of  “Wannabees” including Joe Baiza, Dan McGuire, George Hurley, Raymond Pettibon, David Thomas and Mike Watt….who are these dudes anyway?