Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Country Grunge

My band, Country Grunge played a show at Mission Pizza last Friday night. We've played there countless times. Some of those shows were good and some were not so good. Friday's show was one of the good ones. The sound was mixed pretty good and the huge crowd was eating pizza and drinking some beers and raising the noise level to a small roar. But all four of us were in good spirits and looking forward to playing music no matter what. This was the first time we've been in front of people since our show in early February!

We are the only non-bluegrass band they let play there. The owner, Phil Willis, keeps upgrading the equipment and adding to the stage. He's actually bolted the mic stands to the stage, all in a line across the front, since apparently, you can't trust musicians. He will have just installed new speakers, or some H-U-G-E sub-woofers in the corner. It's always something. But he's benevolent pizza guy and lover of live music and that keeps us coming back. And he always comes up right after the show and grabs whatever tips we made, and pockets them. Then he comes back and gives us all a twenty dollar bill and a pizza to take home. You can't beat that.

We didn't get any shows booked for this year at all. Somehow we missed the boat. Although he calls us when some other band either can't make it, or has broken up all together.

We have a few songs that we've recorded at various times at Mission, here are a few:

Better Than Ted written by me
Everything Changes written by me and Tim Ryan
Fences written by Norm Stinson
I Believe Written by Norm Stinson

They're a little rough, but it's live.

I'm not sure what's going to happen with the band in the next few months. Norm is leaving Sony after a long tenure and if he can't get work consulting, he'll move to his cabin and rent out his house here. That would change the whole dynamic of the band. Norm is the lead singer! I would like to continue on, but that would make ME! the lead singer. Oh no, that can't happen. So something will change - I will be playing music, I'm just not sure with whom.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Upcoming Trip to New York

In exactly 57 days, I will fly to Salt Lake City to join my mom for a week in New York. The itineraries are finalized and it's a done deal. I have been waiting for this trip for quite a while. A number of years ago, my mother decided that she'd like to travel with each of her children on separate trips before she can't travel anymore. In a wisdom only my mom understands, she chose to start with my baby sister, Janine, now in her late forties. They had an adventure in Costa Rica and then cruised around the Caribbean. Next it was Paul's turn. He and mom took an Alaskan cruise up the inland passage. I saw pictures of my mom standing on a glacier and in the helicopter that took them up there. Then Julie and mom went on yet another cruise. Dave had always wanted to go to Hawaii to surf. So that's where they went.

So finally it's my turn. I just couldn't subject my 83 year old mom to another cruise, so I suggested a trip to Memphis and Nashville, where I could pay my respects to legendary songwriters. But my mom countered with New York City with a side trip upstate where we can visit with her family still living there. It's a still pretty big crew, she was one of nine children. This will probably be the last time I'll see most of those folks. I haven't been there since 1966!

So here's how the trip looks:

6-19 - I fly to SLC
6-20 - Me and Mom fly to Albany. Visit the old folks in Gloversville for a few days.
6-23 - Mom and me take 4 hour train ride from Amsterdam to New York City
Empire Hotel (near Central Park and the Lincoln Center)
(I'm supposed to find a Broadway Show to see - assuming we can get tickets)
6-27 - LaGuardia back to SLC then back home.

That's it - I'm really looking forward to it. The time has been noted and approved on work calendars and I'm ready to travel one on one with my Mom.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Some new Pale Moon Sky pehaps?

A number of years ago, I was one half of the acoustic rock duo called Pale Moon Sky. I had met Tim Ryan at the local Benicia, California coffee hangout called "In The Company of Wolves". It was owned by a very colorful and lovely lesbian couple, Deb and Deb. We played there on and off for three years on this little postage stamp sized stage, trying like hell to sing over the cappuccino machine. Tim and I wrote some pretty cool folk-rock tunes and we eventually put together a CD called This Feels Like Home.

Tim retired and currently lives in paradise, well it's called Lahaina, Maui, and he is starting to resurrect his musical efforts. I had two songs from my FAWM '08 collection where the melodies just wouldn't come to me. So I sent them to my old buddy in Hawaii and asked if he would take a stab. He was agreeable, and after a couple iterations, we may have a new PMS song comming. We're going to try to produce this tune across the Pacific Ocean. I will post it up as we get closer.


On another note: I started another blog that no one will ever read. It's called "la cuisine de mi familia", and it's a collection of recipes from my immigrant Italian family. There are two recipes up currently, but I'll post more as I get time. This is the food of my people - which is to say that in no way has your health been considered in the making of these dishes. Back then, that's the way it was - you eats your food, you takes your chances. But oh, how tasty it was. I'm in my late 50's and I've been getting these sent to me ever since I set out on my own in this world.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Need to Blog?

I don't seem to have a burning desire to write anything here anymore. I've opened this editor a couple times in the last few weeks, stared at it for a few minutes, then unceremoniously closed it again. I'll try to keep my self control together for at least a paragraph.

My band, Country Grunge finally managed to get together again after a long 45 day break. Since we didn't have any shows lined up, it was a nice break. But all four of us missed it. In the interim, we have gotten a couple new shows at Mission Pizza, our old haunt. The new thing, though, is that we're finally recording something. We have recorded in the past, but it's always been a "live' recording with microphones placed wherever they'd fit in the room. Rhys, (bass/guitar), brought in his iMac and we've recorded separate tracks of Normie's tune, "I Want To Test". Here's the file so far: http://grunge.philbearce.com/ Norm and I did the ooohh's and the background harmonies. I think it's good.

I haven't written anything since FAWM really, but I sent two of the songs that I never found the time to demo to my old songwriting buddy, Tim Ryan. He lives in Lahaina, Maui and is starting to get back into music a little. He just sent me an MP3 of his take on the song. Tim and I were called Pale Moon Sky at the very end of the last century - we had a good run. We had one of our songs from the CD This Feel Like Home played on a TV show. It was a good time. I was in my forties.

The next big thing on the horizon is the return of the 'Spring Jam'. "What's that?," you might ask. For ten years, I hosted my own annual event. Some years, it got pretty interesting with country pickers sitting in with punk drummers sitting in with Celtic harpers sitting in with guitar players of all stripes. - Then, along with my first marrige, that all ended. My friend and bandmate, Norm, took up the call, though, and hosted his own Jam in the summers up at his cabin in Twain Harte. - So I'm bringing it back in May. I've invited a couple FAWMers who live nearby, but I didn't want it to end up getting out of control with a lot of folk I don't know. Who knows, perhaps in subsequent years, we'll change it up.

Wow, I guess I found a few things to say. Heigh ho...