Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Straight From The Smog

Looks like I'll be in Chicago next Tuesday night....

anyone wanna tell me where to get a good thin Chi-town style buttery crust pizza?

Anyhow, caught Golden Smog in SF last night, sans Chicago fixture Jeff Tweedy, on the 2nd show of their current tour, and they were ok, but seemed a bit blase'.

... Apparently Seattle show the night before was even less fine tuned...

They seemed homesick maybe & were visibly disappointed when few in the hizzo responded to the callout "anyone from Minnesota"?

Other than that, no real audience interactions, and all in all it was just another gig I suppose. Not a bad one, but not a great one. Don't get me wrong, it was still a solid set full of quality rock music played in the traditional style, just not a life changer.

I have seen thse guys have fun in previous gigs here in town over the years... and was hoping for some Faces style shenanigans or, hey a lil more banter or something... but yep... they act like a serious band now...

Maybe they need more o' that Tweedy factor, although that guy can be real downer too, just ask his therapist...

(At a Wilco show some years back he stopped the music & was having a hissy fit about some guy he didn't like in the audience, so I dumped a half empty plastic beer cup on his head from the balcony. Let's just say he got even more upset...

and a guy I know, who looks nothing like me, and had nothing to do with my lil' action, was thrown out. I'll never forget him trying to explain to security he didn't throw anything, while I stood on the other side of the door grinning like a devil.

I sorta felt bad because I knew he already had a broken dick, yep... some babe came down hard enough on his man pole that it had snapped. But that's a different story, and I digress...)

The older Golden Smog stuff on Tues night was well performed, newer stuff seemed a bit stiff or rusty. Apparently in Seattle the band was so off, they were heckled by a request to play "something you know". They were still feeling that stinger a little.

Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum was the only real sparkle on the cake for me, and so it seemed for many in the crowd. His earnest rawkin' tunes were highpoints, the rest kinda just hung in there...

His latest contribution to the Smog... a tune called Hurricane from the new album Another Fine Day...it sorta lulls about on the record, but comes off as a real rave up live...

But in my opinion, the Smog doesn't throw out enough rockers, covers or yucks...

Louris can still hit his high notes, not band for a 51 year old expatriate who looks like a subsitute teacher...

ex Jayhawk Tim O'Reagen joined on drums for a bit...

Kraig occasionally seems a lil' too cute or out of his league ... (but has that Johnny Depp thing were he looks like he hasn't aged a day in over 10 years).

here's some Tweedy era cuts from Weird Tales

Golden Smog - Glad & Sorry ( Faces Cover)

Golden Smog - I Can't Keep From Talking

and here's Murphy taking lead on an under rated Soul Asylum tune











So last week I forgot that the Zombies were playing...

DOH!

I guess if I listened to more satellite radio like my pals the Taxi Driver and the Gardener, I'd have known.

It was part of a Little Steven's Underground Garage Showcase at that mission district hawt spot known as 12 Galaxies...

So in honor of what I missed here's another former mission district denizen...

One Carlos Santana and his band's interpretation of She's Not There from the 1977 Moonflower album, this cover a Rod Argent composed tune actually hit #27 on the charts... Making it one of Santana's only singles to hit the top 40, at least until that Matchbox 20 guy showed up...

Santana - She's Not There

Another former mission district character is Carlos Guitarlos...

I haven't seen him in a while, and that's probably a good thing. It means he's busy, out touring and making records...

Which is really what he should be doing.

He hit a rough spot some years back, and skidded so far into the darkside it looked like he'd never see the light again... but luckily, that's not how it worked out.

He used to crash on my couch, and was a lil bit crazy for the crack pipe... but at least he'd offer to share.

Not that I'd take him up on it, but it showed a generous soul...

His real strength is sharing his relentless love of music...

Carlos earned his stripes playing in the bar band to end all bar bands, the near-legendary LA troupe known as Top Jimmy & The Rhythm Pigs. Carlos was a bouncer, Jimmy the singer was the bartender and the biggest drunk in town. The band included most of X, occasionally Ray Manzarek, or Dave Alvin, or Bill Campbell or Maria McKee, or Los Lobos or whomever felt up to joining in on the fray. They were so off the cuff amazing in their heyday that even the ego-centric party meisters of Van Halen had a song about em...

Imagine ol' Mr. Me Me Me , one David Lee Roth being impressed enough of another musical group to write a song about em...

Anyhow those Top Jimmy days were some hard drinking days, which lead to hard drugging and by the time I met Carlos he was stumbling the streets of SF, just a hardly humble guy playing for spare change...

But despite being down & out of it, he was a fixture, and would always be there, maybe trudging in the rain, axe in hand, working street corners with a battery powered amp...

He may have had no prospects, that didn't stop him from playing his heart out... everyday. He was relentless...

Just when about all hope seemed lost, after living through a diabetic coma, and emergency heart surgery, some folks gave him some spec home studio time. Carlos began churning out songs, producing onetune after another that could finally put to rest his claim that he's written over 3500 songs. The songs were full of life and topped off with his brash blues guitar wizardry, and the tales were spun off in a raspy grizzled voice.

Amazingly, his discs were moving beyond just his lil portable shop run out of guitar case on the sidewalks above the BART subway steps. Old pals like Dave Alvin & John Doe showed up to lay some guest parts down on his Straight From The Heart release... and Carlos was finally, after decades spent in the where is he now file, finally on his way.

One of the last times I saw him, he was clean & sober, proudly moving out of a seedy hotel I visited him at on mission street and heading down to LA. We had breakfast at an early morning diner spot with cheap egg breakfasts. It was just a few steps from the boarding houses he frequented , and he paid with some rumpled bills that had been left in his guitar case that morning as tips...

I since heard he now lives in Silverlake, reestablished ties with his family, optioned his life story for a possible film, got some gigs on the European Festival circuit, and picked up some distribution in the UK.

Way to go Carlos...

I hear he'll be playing one of the farewell sets at Albany's Ivy Room this weekend. I always said, I really should get over there more often... but never made it.

Well this weekend , Bill MacBeath, the old owner & former Carlos bassist ( along with Alvin Youngblood Hart & others) is sending it off with a bang... and lotsa great local musicians are playing:

On Sept 16th, Saturday night... the juke joint goes down with:

The Loved Ones (Bart, Mike, John & Xan), Rusty Zinn , Carlos Guitarlos, The Salem Lights,

Ride The Blinds, Eric McFadden Trio, + likely some special surprise guests…

Here is the title track from Carlos' first real release... Straight From The Heart
a tune Carlos simply refers to as a simple folk song with a harmonica solo, but obviously is also much more

Carlos Guitarlos - Straight From The Heart

and here's one from his 2005 follow up Hell Can Wait

Carlos Guitarlos - Hole In My Pocket


here's Carlos & some chica in a live quicktime video by Video Louis from 2003

as a bonus here's Carlos in a 2003 interview with that annoying liberal Philly know it all Terry Gross on Fresh Air

1 comment:

San Francisco Taxi Driver said...

The place to go for Chicago's famous "deep dish pizza" is a place that gives a free pizza to the city's cab drivers once a year. I don't remember the name but obviously every cab driver should at least be able to find it on a map. Note that I say should, Chicago's cabbies are notorious for a lot of things, honesty isn't one. They wait a long timne for fares, up to two hours, so just have an idea of what the fare should be before you "go for a ride".