Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Gift of Rain

We had another one of those wild DC thunderstorms here last night and it broke the nasty humidity. This morning's walk was so fine I took a couple extra blocks before pain set in. Rehearsal last night went fine but it's like any other show, you think if you had one more rehearsal we would be ready -- but tonight's opening night. I was tearing up the shit with the snare drum during the songs but messing up the most basic stuff like the snare drum roll you do whenever George Washington sends a letter to the Congress - wrists kept freezing up. Sometimes I worry about arthritis - for a drummer this might even be worse than losing a limb. Recovering from an accident is enough but worrying that the pain isn't related to that but arthritis is something else. The maternal side of my family had arthritis (also glaucoma and mild Alzheimers). Worry, worry, worry...

No great food to report. Basically did the English Muffin and Coffee for breakfast and it's almost lunch and I'm not terribly hungry so I'll probably skip - there's a nice Ital restaurant near the theater that I'll probably indulge in tonight.

I watched "The Ruins" on DVD late last night and this morning. Ho hum thriller although they did fool me (SPOILER) into thinking the opening scene was with Jena Malone's death scene and that the rest of the film was flashback. Instead they used an actress who looked like her. The part where the flowers imitated people was kind of cool but it was pretty standard fare. One or two "shock moments" and quite a bit of gore. (END SPOILER) For all the hosannas given when the book was released, the movie doesn't really live up to it. But it was good to see the guy from The Black Donnellys still working.

As for music, listening to the new D Banhart record. I'd like to say he's back to the form he showed in his first two records and it has its moments. There's lots of "spot that classic rock and pop" influence. I hear CSN&Y and Barry White in some of the songs. Cut 4 and 8 are pretty good. But there's alot not to like here. His "I want to live off my music but still not be considered a Starbucks sellout" makes for moments that totally undermine the rest of the music. I also appreciate that he wants to educate us dimwits on Spanish music but I get the sense I'm being talked down to. The record at times sounds like a demo -- musicians sometimes sound under-rehearsed - maybe that was intended but it doesn't match with other cuts. The cardboard packaging on the CD is shoddy. The cardboard that holds the disk and book is already smashed flat. The little book is poorly printed -- you need a klieg light to read the damn thing and its full of crappy Devendra art. My disc fell also out of its case while I was walking to my car. There's nothing to keep the book in its case as well. Compare this packaging with, say, Shellac which was like a slick mini-LP and you held it thinking this is a work of art. I'm not saying you have to be slick but at least make it look like you took some care and thought into it. I always like to get down on bureacrats at work who make up surveys and checklists for us engineers to follow -- my quote is "obviously the guys who designed will never have to fill one of these out" -- sometimes I think musicians and artists should think about what they would want if they bought the damn thing if they want us to continue to buy CDs.

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