The old "news" archive - December 2009 back to December 2001.

Expect some broken links as I'm not trying to maintain these pages anymore, just keeping them here for the amusement of anyone curious enough to look! The "new" news is now on my blog.

27 December 2009:
OK let's see if I have anything to say here on Dec 27 2009. Today I finished mixing all the 3SIX9 tunes recorded here back in November. I promised them the sonic equivalent of a "fat, juicy sounding classic rock album" and that's just what I gave 'em. It was easy because they had a good sound and trusted me.

My pals What's Wrong With Us just sent me the tracks of a new song they recorded somewhere and want me to mix, I'll get to that next year (har har har).

I spent some hours today working out a vocal melody for a new banjo tune which I'll record for my next solo album, which, as you frequent readers are surely aware, I'll be recording next summer. I really love sitting in a room with a guitar and little recording device, looking for a melody, trying to find notes that make it "shine". I think I might enjoy that even more than a finished album, which is probably one reason why I'll keep doing this until they find my skeleton slumped over a 4-track cassette.

My old friend Jeff Ross was here for a visit. Hadn't seen each other for 25 years or so! Jeff was a singer and drummer in some of the more interesting punk-ish/uncategorizeable bands back in Denver in the early 1980's. We took part in a lot of wild shows back then and I made recordings of a few of the bands he was in (Endgame and Poetic License come to mind for those of you who were there!) Anyhow Jeff has recently done shows playing drums with some of my other pals Beatman and Delaney Davidson, without knowing we all knew each other!

Last but as I like to say not least, I've updated and posted a lot more material to the GSPS page. Lots more to come!
5 December 2009:
Greetings from early December, where, tomorrow, universe willing (if universes have wills that is) I will have existed 52 years upon this planet. Having just typed the number "52", it looks a lot larger than it feels, if you know what I mean, and anyhow let us not forget as Charles Bukowski said in his excellent and hilarious book Hollywood: "Don't let anybody tell you different. Life begins at 65".

Anyhow, for the past couple of days, when I wasn't fiddling about with song ideas and trying to write some more lyrics for my next album, and when I wasn't working on putting the floor into a new room here at the house, or wasn't mixing Mama Rosin's new album or planting trees and shrubs in the yard, I spent some time doing something I've been wanting to do for years now; sort through some of my thousands of digital photos taken between 2000 and the present and select some for my photo page. One thing that kept me from doing it was imagining the tedium of typing all those primitive html pages; you see, my self-taught coding skills started and stopped in about 1997 and honestly I just don't have the time or desire to learn more. Over the past few days trying several "web gallery" softwares and various online galleries and not caring for the results; and having spent more time experimenting with them than it would have taken to type it all by hand, I finally went ahead and in my old-fashioned by today's standards simple hand-typed pre-2000 html started two more galleries on the photos page. I will get around to adding a few captions to some of them, and there will be LOTS more to come as I continue sorting through the constantly accumulating collection, so if you like 'em check back now and then for updates.

Oh here's another oldie someone posted from 5uu's 1995 tour, the song Equus, on Youtube. Not bad - though as you all probably know by now, I can't stand the clunky, thick, Midwestern USA accent I used to sing with back then...like I was swallowing all the words...aaarrrrrghhhhhh! (Even though I am a genuine bonafied Midwesterner!)

OK can't think of anything else right now so see you next time?

25 November 2009:
OK as usual, what's been happening. I spent a week recording 3SIX9 here at the abode. Despite the somewhat forbidding appearance on their myspace page, they are in reality really incredibly nice guys...oh wait maybe I'm not supposed to say that; sorry, they're REALLY MEAN and NASTY. Well anyway it was a great week and I enjoyed working with them a lot, they played their tunes and then basically left me alone to do my thing which is always the best way. I even screamed a bit on a song. They'll soon be releasing a single from the session which I already mixed, and then later the whole album which I'll be mixing later this winter.

I've also been remastering some live recordings of a band I was in back in Denver during the mid 1980's called the Bruce Odland Big Band. We had 2 drummers, a 5-piece horn section, two singers who also played keyboards and I was the bass player and tried to sing a bit of harmony vocals. (a couple of photos on this page.) Bruce Odland was the songwriter and one of the keyboardist/singers, and he and his friend Uncle Dave have just dug up a pile of forgotten and previously unknown videos of the band, I guess we're going to collect all those along with the studio recordings we made (recorded and mixed by me and now being remastered - believe me they need it - by my pal and fellow BOBB bandmate Mark Fuller ) and put some kind of package together presumably just for ourselves and anyone else interested. I'll also make a Youtube channel and post some of the stuff there, once my remastered audio has been laid onto the video. Naturally it being over 20 years ago I have mixed feelings about it, but we put a hell of a lot of work into it back then and were basically ignored, and it was a pretty cool band for its time so it seems OK to resurrect the stuff even though looking at the videos it feels like looking at someone who isn't you anymore! Anyhow more news about that as it happens.

Talking about old stuff being dug up, somebody posted this video of 5uu's in Italy on our 1995 tour, featuring me on bass and trying to be the singer, Dave Kerman drumming, Scott Brazieal on keyboards, and Mike Johnson on guitar. Apart from me not having had any experience "being the lead singer" onstage in a band until this tour (it's awfully obvious to me!) it's not bad.

I added a new photo album here of the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape in South Wales, which I visted last June. Also added some new fountain photos from Portugal and Spain. This was on the drive Maggie Thomas and I made from home here in Southern France to Gouveia Portugal to do the show with Thinking Plague in spring 2008. Though, unfortunately, many of the photos from that trip were lost on a failed hard disc, I was able to recover enough of them using some data recovery software so as to not have spend the rest of my life lamenting.

1 November 2009:
As you know, I leap at any opportunity or the slimmest excuse to get into my beardog costume and frolic on the dance floor and/or generally behave like an idiot, but I just had a look at the local Halloween party up the road and decided to give it a miss; the handful of adults present are just standing around outside talking, not even in WILD COSTUMES or WEIRD MAKEUP for cryin' out loud, and the only people on the dance floor were a few children. Have you even been the only fursuited person in the midst of a group of young children? You're usually lucky to get away with your suit in one piece!

So here I am back home typing about what's been happening for the past few busy weeks. Mama Rosin was here and recorded a batch of tunes, then the duo of Pierre Omer and Santiago Rapallo came for a few days of recording. I'm currently working on the Mama Rosin mixes, interspersed with more renovation work around the house. That's how it'll be going for the next week or so, if we're all still living, then, then, who can say?????

14 September 2009:
Oops I accidentally deleted the previous entry from late August, haven't got a backup! Don't recall what it was about, but that's life. OK what's going on...I'm in a café in Mirepoix having a cappucino whilst Chris Cutler does some shopping at the weekly market. That's not really news though is it, I'll have to think a bit harder. Oh good my cappucino has just arrived, that's news. Meanwhile here's a photo of a few of the 300 fursuiters at the furry convention in Suhl Germany late last month; that's me in the back center with the purple scarf, in case you didn't know by now. So if you see that bear somewhere just remember you can have a conversation with him about CD mastering or different ways of micing drumkits, etc. (Photo by Cleanerwolf)

I guess for me the biggest news is that I've finished composing all the songs for my next album. It's the first time I've ever finished composing and arranging all the songs for an album before I start recording it. Probably the most different album from the other albums so far, and pretty sure a few of you fans will like it (hi Dominique!), but no idea how it'll be received in general...which I guess is how I feel about every album I've done so that's not really news either, IS IT? I guess I'm just going on about it because I feel real good about this batch of songs, and been working on them for quite a long time so forgive me if I seem to be obsessing over it but that's what you gotta do! Still plan to do the actual recording next summer which will mean a release towards the end of 2010 or early 2011. Already looking forward the album after this one, which I think might have to be really strange...

I'll be at the "Rock in Opposition" festival on Sept 18, not playing (unless some last minute unexpected something comes up again??) but just watching some bands and hopefully bumping into some pals from around the globe. See you there?

One last thing - a few of you have asked why I don't have a blog here so you can comment etc...well I'm trying to set one up again, so I'll let you know. It would be nice to get a little correspondence going!

23 July 2009:
Earlier this month I recorded/mixed a new album by a Swiss group called Newspeak (they don't have a website yet). Then my old pal and "DancerPerformerPoetVocalArtist" Judith Ren-Lay came for a short visit. We did a lot of strange recordings back in the 80's when we were both living in Denver, and spent a few hours here doing some hilarious lo-fi/lo-tech wacky improvs. Lots of fun!!!

Why One Should Occasionally Google One's Own Name: It's the only way one finds things like THIS!

Electronic genius Y. Utsunomia has been here for a mere three days now and has already gotten the Hammond organ (see 4 July entry below) working! It needs some new valves and a capacitor which are ordered and on the way, but already sounds bloody great. We've determined it's a 1930's or 40's model BC which has had some modifications done to it back in the early 60's (there's even some pencilled maintenance comments from the 1960's inside.)

If you follow this here news page you know I've cancelled the Cabinet of Curiosities 2009 garage/livingroom tour because I wasn't able to find more than one gig after six months of asking around. All of us in the group really want to keep the Cabinet going so I proposed the following idea which the other band members liked too: Sometime next spring or early summer, we'll set up in the tractor shed at my sister Sandy's place in Watseka Illinois (we played there in 2008) and rehearse for a week or so. I'll bring Samplitude along on a laptop, some good microphones and set up for a proper multitrack recording. On the night of the recording it'll be a big party and we'll run through each tune two or three times, in front of the audience who know we're there to do a live recording and will have been provided with snacks and drinks and encouraged to be rowdy etc. Then go to Denver and do the same thing at the Mercury Cafe. That's the general idea, stay tuned for details!

One thing I really like about the above plan is that in addition to doing tunes from each of my older albums, we'll also do several of the new songs I'm currently writing for my next solo album. Usually, when I make a demo version of a song for the band to learn, I include my basic ideas about what the drums and bass etc will be doing, so the fellows have a good idea of what I had in mind. When I send these new tunes for them to learn, I will send only a simple recording of me playing guitar and singing; it'll be up to them to come with whatever they want to do in the songs. That way the live versions will be TOTALLY different than the versions I'll do for my solo album, on which as usual I'll play all the instruments. So....if the live recording idea works out and all goes well I'd love to release a live album too!

Oh well I've had about enough typing for now, I reckon that'll be it till next time, see you then...
4 July 2009:
Just returned home from England and Wales, and currently sipping one of the many fine ales I brought back. (Current ale is: The Rev. James.) We also brought back a Hammond organ and tone cabinet, which we bought from a church in Portsmouth. They'd told us it was a C3, but as soon as I saw it I knew it wasn't; in fact they didn't know much of anything about it except that it hadn't been played for decades. I think it's a very old Model A, but it has two little drawbars on the right side which I don't see in any photos of Model A's I've managed to find online. Can any of you Hammond enthusiasts out there tell me what model this is? Click the pics for bigger view. (Note: It does have bass pedals, removed in order to load it into the van. I haven't re-attached them yet so they aren't in the photos.)
   
And here's the tone cabinet:
   
Our friend and electronic genius (and I'm not exaggerating about the genius part) Yasushi Utsunomiya will be here later this summer, we'll leave it to him to get it up and running!

(Current ale: Old Hooky) I've decided to call off the Cabinet of Curiosities October 2009 USA tour, after having spent the past six months looking for ten livingroom or garage gigs, and finding just one in all that time, and the contacts and responses dwindling away quite remarkably. You'd think finding a few pass-the-hat garage gigs wouldn't be so difficult, but crikey! So for now we'll aim at trying to find some gigs in Europe next year.

Well it's one of those perfect summer evenings: very still, hot and humid, a thunderstorm rumbling off to the southwest, so I'll upload this entry and then go outside with a guitar (and maybe one more ale?) See you next time.
11 June 2009:
The big news is the new Vril album The Fatal Duckpond is now available! You can listen to two songs from it and read a bit more info here.

Chris Cutler sent me a live recording of Pere Ubu to master for possible release, it's a two-track stereo recording so can't be remixed, but the sound is not bad. Just seeing what I can do to make it "even better" as they say. Not sure when it was recorded but I'll guess late 80's.

If you read the previous entry from 12 May, you might recall I was going to be in Wales picking up a Hammond C3...to my dismay the trip has been postponed due to a broken suspension spring on the van. We hope to make the voyage later this month.

Meanwhile nothing out of the ordinary to report...except maybe this cloud which came by the other day. It was a warm June afternoon, I was in the house working on a new song. All at once it became dark as night, I stepped outside and saw this intensely dark, seething cloud, coming straight towards me, and FAST. I expected something of Lovecraftian or at least Biblical proportions from it, but it just rolled on over with a few little accompanying gusts of wind and nary a drop of precipitation of any kind, rolled on out of sight to the east and that was that...the sun came back out, animals frolicked as usual and I continued looking for a melody. Click the pics below for bigger view.

   

I also spent some time today putting some finishing touches on Beardog's new body, just needed a few snaps here and there. I commissioned this from Primal Visions, the same folks who built his head, and they did a great job of capturing the look of the sketches I sent them. Looking forward to making his debut at Eurofurence 15 in August! (Not sure about the scarf...I was just trying out various accessories...)
12 May 2009:
Must have been about two weeks ago now...I was driving to a nearby town (I live out in the country) to pick up some building materials. It was during a cold, windy, rainy spell. On the way back, I saw dog sitting in a field, watching me drive by. I tried to tell myself it must have known what it was doing out there in the rain by itself, but I kept thinking about it all that night. 24 hours later it was still cold and rainy, and I had to go back to the same town for something, and sure enough the dog was still there. This time I stopped the car and tried to approach; it was a young female and clearly lost or abandoned. She was too shy and unsure to come near me, but obviously relieved to have someone at least talk to her. After a while she went off into the woods. I didn't try to follow, thinking she'd be frightened, but decided I'd go back the next day with a bit of food and at least feed her. Next morning was still windy, rainy and cold. When I arrived she was still there so I sat down (in the mud) and just talked about stuff. She sat about 10 feet away and I could see she was just a soaked, muddy mess of skin and bones and was determined not to leave without her. To make a long story short, after about two hours she made the decision to trust me and let me pick her up (it broke my heart she was so thin, exhausted and soaked!) and carry her to the car. Now she's doing great! Super sweet and a smart one too. About 10 or 12 months old. We call her "Elsie". Here she is after being with us for a week.
Meanwhile, I'm working out my new song ideas for my next solo album and very excited and happy about where it's going. That's how I'll spend most of the next two weeks, then Maggie and I will be going to England (I forget where...somewhere near Wales) to pick up an old Hammond C3 organ and tone cabinet we bought from a little old church. The organ doesn't work...they think: "it might need a new valve"... Even if it's something more serious than that, our friend and electronic genius (and I'm not exaggerating about the genius part) Yasushi Utsunomiya will be here this summer and of course he will know what to do...
20 April 2009:
Delaney Davidson will be here for the next week or so, we'll be recording some new songs for his next album. His previous album "Ghost Songs", recorded here last year came out great! Chris Cutler will be here during the same period of time as Delaney with a few things to do... I'll be alternating between the two of them!

Over the weekend of the 18th-19th I mastered a collection of Dick El Demasiado's songs for a release on the Japanese label Utakata Records. Most of the tracks (actually all but one of his albums so far) were recorded here at my place over the years. Dick and I have a very special and crazy way of working together, and have made 4 (or is it 5??) albums so far. I hope one day to get Beardog involved in one of his live shows! Speaking of Beardog, I anxiously await his new body, commissioned from Primal Visions Studio, the same people who made his head from my sketches. He'll probably make his debut at Eurofurence 15 in August. More news as it happens.

And just in case, here's this again:

Bob Drake's Cabinet of Curiosities is looking for some gigs in October 2009, this time in the western USA. Let's say for starters, roughly Colorado as the easternmost point; with all US destinations west, north and south of there and along the west coast. As we did on the first tour, we want to play in garages, livingrooms, toolsheds, basements, backyards, informal coffee houses or galleries, that sort of thing. Any kind of informal or unusual setting! If you have any ideas, please write to me at: cabinet@bdrak.com

11 April 2009:
Egads it April already. Just finished up the mix of the new Nobodies album, to be entitled "Nobodies Cup of Tea" which we recorded here last July. Turned out great! (Note: the mixes you hear on their myspace page last time I looked are really quick rough mixes I did at the end of the July session, don't know why they'd make those available but oh well!)

Today I put the master together of the new Vril album, entitled The Duckpond Tragedy, should be released later this year. Like the first album it has liner notes and song titles by Frank Key, me on bass and guitars, Lukas Simonis on guitars, Chris Cutler drumming, and new member Pierre Omer on guitars. I think it's great but naturally I'm unbiased.

I just bought a 4 track cassette recorder and I'm so excited!!!!!! I wanted something simple to work on song ideas without having to turn on a computer, or try and read menus the size of ant footprints or try to press teeny little buttons with a fingernail etc. I figured a good old basic cassette 4 track was just the thing, and it was. I had one back in the early 90's and have always missed its simplicity....just plug a guitar into the mic input and off you go. I don't care it sounds "good", it's just for working on ideas. Speaking of which, I officially have enough new song ideas for my next solo album. Let's see how it turns out...still hope to start recording it in September/October...
18 March 2009:
Oh it's March. Rob Murphy is here and we're putting the final touches on the mixes of the Nobodies album, to be entitled "Nobodies Cup of Tea" which we recorded here last July. (Note: the mixes you hear on their myspace page are really quick rough mixes I did at the end of the July session, don't know why they'd make those available but oh well.) Anyway I think it's going to be a great album and it's always a pleasure working with Mr. Murphy.

In the meantime I continue stockpiling songs ideas for my next solo album which I still hope to begin recording late this summer. It's been a long time coming, but after finishing my previous album The Shunned Country, I wanted to wait a long time before embarking on the next. The way it usually went was this: about the time I'd be finishing up an album, I'd already have a clear idea about the general character and direction for the next one. After Shunned, into which I'd put much more work than any of the others, I definitely felt I was done for a while, and having released six solo albums between 1994-2005, it didn't bother me at all to say OK I'll just stop for a while and wait. It seems to have worked; I've got a clear idea now for this next batch of tunes, they're coming along nicely, they've got a different character than the last few albums, and who knows if anyone else is going to like it...as usual! Anyhow we'll see...if I do get them recorded this year it'll be released sometime in 2010. I'm still not in a big hurry apparently.

The following is a repeat from last month's update, just hoping someone reads it and has some ideas!:

Bob Drake's Cabinet of Curiosities is looking for some gigs in October 2009, this time in the western USA. Let's say for starters, roughly between Colorado-California, and along the west coast. As we did on the first tour, we want to play in garages, livingrooms, toolsheds, basements, backyards, informal coffee houses or galleries, that sort of thing. Any kind of informal or unusual setting! If you have any ideas, please write to me at: cabinet@bdrak.com

To my European readers/listeners: I had hoped to do a European tour this year, but that won't be financially possible. Flying the other three members from N America requires a lot more money than I could possibly come up with. I'd hoped to get us booked at a European festival which might have paid for the flights, but that didn't work out. So for now we'll have to stick to N America because it's lots cheaper for me to fly there than for the three of them to fly here!
20 February 2009:
OK...Bob Drake's Cabinet of Curiosities is looking for some gigs in October 2009, this time in the western USA. Let's say for starters, roughly between Colorado-California, and along the west coast. As we did on the first tour, we want to play in garages, livingrooms, toolsheds, basements, backyards, informal coffee houses or galleries, that sort of thing. Any kind of informal or unusual setting! If you have any ideas, please write to me at: cabinet@bdrak.com

To my European readers/listeners: I had hoped to do a European tour this year, but that won't be financially possible. Flying the other three members from N America requires a lot more money than I could possibly come up with. I'd hoped to get us booked at a European festival which might have paid for the flights, but that didn't work out. So for now we'll have to stick to N America because it's lots cheaper for me to fly there than for the three of them to fly here!

AND, I started adding some stuff to the Henry Cow 40th Anniversary Box Set remastering page. As you'll read there, I do plan to add more as time allows, but this will at least get you started, and give some idea of the work I did on this massive project.
27 January 2009:
OK...let's see....first part of this month I mixed (most of) the new Bushwac album which we recorded here in December. There is one piece left to mix which I'll get to in a minute. Then I started mixing the new Vialka album which we recorded here in December and early January, just about done with that and sounding great.

I added a bunch of videos clips recorded on our October 2008 tour to my Bob Drake's Cabinet of Curiosities Youtube channel. If you don't know what Bob Drake's Cabinet of Curiosities is, and you want to, have a look here!

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