Friday, September 19, 2008

3rd Anniversay Circus

What did you guys think? Did everyone enjoy themselves?
Man it was crowded! It seemed like we were violating about 6 fire codes there, but hey, good times call for desperate measures. All are welcome! Actually, our apologies to those who had to wait in line or didn't get in at all. Luckily we do it all again next week (minus the belly dancer). Thanks to Boneparte the Magician, Jungle Jim with the crazy balloons, comic Andy Peters and our lovely belly-dancer-in-residence and sword-wielder Alicia. Thanks also to Claudette for the killer slide show, Brother Wayne for spinning his tunes during set break, and to Motorcycle Mike and Chris for the excellent and hilarious crowd control. And thank you fans! Another successful Circus!
If you were there, please let us know what you thought!
Photos coming soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hearing the music

By living in Concord, New Hampshire, I often have an hour more in my gig commutes than others in the band. An hour and a quarter to the Cantab every Thursday night, three and a half hours to our Newport, Rhode Island gig last Friday. I measure my trips by CD listenings—two, four, or six CDs per round trip, and I try to set myself up with a variety of choices to get me through all the usual early and late night moods of solitary travel.

I had the rare short ride last Saturday to our private gig in Readesboro, Vermont, just two beautiful hours of country driving from my Concord home. I started the trip under sunny skies with Elvis Costello’s “Get Happy,” but switched early to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” as the skies clouded up, and I soon replaced that one with “Hank Williams Alone with His Guitar,” as the clouds hung low and foggy in the mountains and the first rain started to fall.

The gig, a classy but relaxed wedding party, was held inside an enormous tent on the grounds of a country home, and we all loaded in before the rain got too bad. We parked in a fresh mowed field across the road that got more and more muddy as the rain settled in for the night.

I spent about half of each break in my car, listening to the rain on the roof, seat back in full recline, remembering how so often a musician will miss the music in a song by listening too intently to how the music has been written, performed, arranged and recorded. I’ll sometimes listen to a Jimmy Smith recording and hear nothing but reverb and organ riffs I should have learned by now. With the band’s current recording project, it seems that all I hear these days is studio technique-- mic placement, mix levels, stereo pans, drum sounds, horn voicings, all that, and I’ve been forgetting just to hear music.

That’s when the rain does me a lot of good. Rain, or the sound of city traffic, or even the hum of a neighbor’s air conditioner-- any ongoing noise that I can’t pull apart and figure out. Sound being what it is and nothing more. Something my ears can enjoy-- yes, even an air conditioner-- while my thoughts take a rest.

Returning to Concord after the Vermont gig, I chose not to play any CDs. I just listened to rain, tires and wind, and I remembered what Miles Davis used to say, that the space between the music is music, too. The drive home that night seemed a lot shorter than two hours, and upon pulling into my driveway, I turned the motor off and listened a bit more to the rain. “I think I liked it better with the tires in the mix,” I thought, and then I walked up the old creaky stairs to my second floor apartment and put on “Charlie Parker with Strings.”

Monday, September 8, 2008

It's Officially "Hammer Time!"

Folks, we want to officially introduce you to the latest member of the Slacks entourage, our new guitar player Mike "The Hammer" Null. Mike comes to us from San Francisco where he grew up singing in a world-class boys choir (no kidding!). He travelled extensively with the choir, performing for everyone from your grandmother to the Pope! That's right, Mike's larynx has been blessed by the holiest man on the planet. If it's good enough for God, it's good enough for the Slacks!

But of course Mr. Null (the name means "zero" or "absence of anything" which Mike tells us is a GOOD thing) can also play one mean guitar. One day a few years back he quit college to practice all day every day, and it certainly shows! The man has a great sense of rhythm and will tear your face off whenever we cut him loose with a solo! Those of you who have seen him in action will attest!

Of course the big question since Mike joined the group has been "What happened to Mighty Slim?" Well, it's a sordid, foggy story, one that will make a great network mini-series someday, but as far as we can put together, Slim blacked out one night after a particularly cosmic Cantab gig, woke up in the U.S. Navy, went AWOL because they wanted him to cut his hair, got marooned on the Ivory Coast and fell in love with a rebel leader's daughter. Soon after, she was killed in battle, and he was so heartbroken that he sought amnesty in China and is now studying Shaolin Kung Fu with Mongolian sheepherders on the outskirts of the Gobi desert. He now goes by Mighty Sahn. You just never know with that guy...

So let's all welcome Mike Null to the lineup - a great addition to the cause!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Locale, Same Great Flavor

Hello there everyone in Blog-vania!

I just moved to Central Square and BOY is my back a-hurtin'! First off...I wanna thank Mara, Amanda, and Brad for helping me with this move. THANKS!

I didn't want to head out "into it all" with the rest of the college folks on Sept. 1st. That day is the Day-of-ALL-Movin'-Days. So, I decided to get a jump on it and did it the week before. I feel like I can NOW catch up on my sleep. But, nuh-uh... not so fast...The Chickenslacks have some more amazing times to offer you! And I'll be danged if you catch Yours Truly sleepin' at the wheel!

I've just moved into this great place only a block away from the Cantab! (I'm already liking where THIS is goin'! tee-hee... No more cab rides, and I get to "stumble home"... ) But, I've FINALLY unpacked everything, and I'm ready to head out into Cambridge, my new home away from home.

Oh yeah... At least I know one person living here in my apartment. Mr. Lee Lundy. He is our resident go-to bass man when our main fella, the indelible Rick Roscoe, is away in some far off land. So, if you ever see me or my roommate Lee, don't hesitate to stop us and say HI.

One more thing....Any good places to eat and hang?!?!

Peace and Chicken grease!
Your Saxyman,
Jeremy D. Valadez