Monday, December 20, 2010

Captain Beefheart's 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing

1. Listen to the birds. 

That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar Your guitar is a divining rod. 

Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush 

Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush dosen't shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil 

Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out 

If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone 

Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key 

That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty-making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.

8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument 

You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place

When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine 

Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

An appreciation by Marc Masters

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Frozen Tennis Courts of Darien

I was once a young man here,
under different stars.

stone walls crisscross bare December woods
the industry of long-departed hands
dividing fields
creating boundaries
rendered meaningless over time.

centuries of toil
culminate in an inflatable plastic snowman.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Fourteenth Street Bus Barn Owls

the 14th street bus barn owls are: johnathan r. on drums, emily m. on flute and rhodes, gabriela s. (stereogab) on theremin and kaoss pad, and yours truly (Iburiedpaul) on guitar. the songs were recorded live one night in late October in a practice space across from an old trolley barn which is now a bus barn.

Bus Barn Owls - Storm Night by Iburiedpaul

Bus Barn Owls - Superstar by Iburiedpaul

Bus Barn Owls - Suburban Jungle by Iburiedpaul

Grin and Bear It

Grin and Bear It
Originally uploaded by Iburiedpaul

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Matthew Reid Gauker

Two songs from my cousin Matt who died last week.

When I was 14, Matt gave me a copy of "Loaded" by the Velvet Underground. I'd never heard anything so good. He changed my life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Terrascope Reviews The Rrreverberationsss!!!

For many years I've been an avid reader of The Ptolemaic Terrascope, a zine (now online) dedicated to psychedelic music both old and new. So I'm very excited to read this review of The Rrreverberationsss in their August Rumbles column:

The self-titled disk of freeform psychedelic jams by The Rrreverberationsss is an EP of four tracks recorded live in classic drums, bass and wailing guitars mode. The playing is great, the band noisy and freaked out, the atmosphere strong. The first cut 'Black Friday Gas Chamber' is short and heavy, while the second, 'Nothing Ever Felt So Real,' is a little slower with dual guitars and trippy vocals, ending in a kind of lurching hyper-jam. 'Green Fuzz,' a brief third track of stoner proportions, interjects itself before 'Heavy Snow,' the closing eleven minute cut of slow, dense jamming. A band with potential for sure, with hints of Hawkwind, Litmus and Astra in the mix.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

This one's for you, Bob

Just learned that my friend Bob Isleman died last week. I had many good times in Chicago with Bob. He was a huge jazz fan with immense knowledge of jazz from the early 20th century. He turned me on to King Oliver, Mugsy Spanier, Mezz Mezzrow, and his alltime idol Sidney Bechet.

Friday, August 27, 2010

America: A Report

4966 miles later, a report on America

Just got back from spending two weeks driving across America. I had the chance to take the pulse of a country I last crossed in 1996. Both of us have changed in the 14 years since then.

In this America, big pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles fly down the highway at 80 miles an hour, stopping at drive-through liquor stores (South Dakota, Wyoming) and drive-through fast food restaurants.

The American small town was always a bit of fiction, conjured up in Norman Rockwell paintings and forties Hollywood films (propaganda). Years ago, chains like Ben Franklin opened on the corners of cities like Thermopolis, Wyoming. They were the previous generation of corporate conquerors. These days it is Walmart that has replaced the town square. Small town residents push carts down the aisles of a huge building housing everything from milk to tires to televisions to underwear (the low-rent version of Walmart is Pamida, which pales in comparison). The people look dazed and unhappy, like they don't really recognize where they live anymore. They stop and chat in the grocery section, or the appliances section, leaning on their carts the way the men once leaned on the hoods of their pickup trucks while chatting with a neighbor.

Others sit at the bar in an Applebees, where a giant stein of beer caled a Brewtus accompanies steaks smothered in Lowry's seasoning or pasta smothered in cheese. Applebees is where the young people of the town work.

Work in small town America is limited. Clerking in a Walmart, serving food in an Applebees, or running the counter in a convenience store in a gas station near the highway are the only options, unless you own a ranch or an oil well. Road construction is booming, funded by the federal recovery act.

The women of small town America have a hard look in their eyes. From the stooped, gray-haired matron working the cash register at the Walmart to the young blonde waitress in Cody, Wyoming, they have a closed nature from too much work and too few choices.

Retired men work as campsite hosts. In the Black Hills I met a man who'd worked in the oil fields of Wyoming for 30 years. Outside Peoria, Illinois I met a man who'd worked for Caterpillar for the same amount of time. He was angry that his son had been laid off and rehired through a temp agency at 15 an hour, no benefits. He blamed "Obama" (he held up his fingers in quotation marks when he referred to the president).

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Bob Dylan 1966

Excerpts from a 1966 Playboy interview of Bob Dylan
PLAYBOY: "Mistake or not, what made you decide to go the rock-'n'-roll route?

DYLAN: "Carelessness. I lost my one true love. I started drinking. The first thing I know, I'm in a card game. Then I'm in a crap game. I wake up in a pool hall. Then this big Mexican lady drags me off the table, takes me to Philadelphia. She leaves me alone in her house, and it burns down. I wind up in Phoenix. I get a job as a Chinaman. I start working in a dime store, and move in with a 13-year-old girl. Then this big Mexican lady from Philadelphia comes in and burns the house down. I go down to Dallas. I get a job as a 'before' in a Charles Atlas 'before and after' ad. I move in with a delivery boy who can cook fantastic chili and hot dogs. Then this 13-year-old girl from Phoenix comes and burns the house down. The delivery boy - he ain't so mild: He gives her the knife, and the next thing I know I'm in Omaha. It's so cold there, by this time I'm robbing my own bicycles and frying my own fish. I stumble onto some luck and get a job as a carburetor out at the hot-rod races every Thursday night. I move in with a high school teacher who also does a little plumbing on the side, who ain't much to look at, but who's built a special kind of refrigerator that can turn newspaper into lettuce. Everything's going good until that delivery boy shows up and tries to knife me. Needless to say, he burned the house down, and I hit the road. The first guy that picked me up asked me if I wanted to be a star. What could I say?"

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Who Lived In This House?

From Boyd's Directory of the District of Columbia:

1887 Charles Morrison, clerk and John H. Martin, porter.
1892 John Martin, laborer.
1903 Charles R. Martin, porter, and Della Martin, washer.
1908 Charles Martin, laborer

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


On a Tower in Vermont
Originally uploaded by Iburiedpaul
We climbed mountains together.

Rest in peace.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

River Sessions

One song from the session

the entire session

The River Sessions from Barrett Jones on Vimeo.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

quote of the day

Monday, June 07, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rrreverberationsss

Released today on the awesome 267 lattajjaa label, my latest musical project: The Rrreverberationsss

Recorded November 2009 in Austin, Texas
Gunnar Hedman - guitar, synth, vibes
Ian Hedman - drums
Barrett Jones - guitar, vocals
Dave Junker - bass, guitar
Gabriela Schneider - synth

You can order it here

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Life as a chess piece in someone else's game.

Last week I worked on a web site for a DC grass roots organization, trying to figure out how to customize an already-customized WP theme using code from a designer I never met. I put everything on hold to concentrate on the task. After a couple days of hacking I realized it would take more time than I could afford. So I phoned the organizer who'd set it up and told him I couldn't afford the time anymore and I was sorry but he should find someone else. He said he understood. But a few days later he emailed me, asking met to work on it again. I replied I could not help him anymore. A few days later he contacted me again to ask. I wrote back again, saying no. I started wondering about my role in all of this. I'd volunteered my time because the cause is important to me. But now I was being pressured to continue when I knew I couldn't do what was being asked of me. It had become a psychic trap. I felt like a chess piece in someone else's game.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I just pooped a lil bit

graffiti on an ad for Metro drivers, Takoma Metro platform

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life is Short

This is a painting by Laurence Pignarre Wyllie. I got to know her and her husband Andy through our mutual friend Hackmuth. They had some fun parties in their little run-down row house near N &13th St. NW. She and Andy were part of a scene of ex-Peace Corps people enjoying a last summer of slacking on their way to a State Department career.

I remember attending a couple of openings at galleries where she showed her paintings. She painted big, moody pictures, a contrast to her petite stature and wide smile. I think she was born in Paris. She spoke English with a thick French accent.

Andy's State Department job soon had them moving to Africa. At the going-away party they threw at their house, everyone came to say goodbye. I remember Laurence reclining on a blanket in the backyard. She was pregnant, smiling, having a good time. That must be six years ago now.

Yesterday I learned that she and her two sons are among the missing in Haiti.

My heart goes out to Andy. To lose the ones you love is a terrible thing.


via a Facebook comment dated 1/18:

Andy Wyllie is now in San Domigue with is brother and Father.
They will go to Haiti in a few days to get the bodies.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Monday, January 04, 2010