Showing posts with label Santa Cruz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Santa Cruz. Show all posts

Sunday, April 5, 2015

SHADOWLAND in 3D - Another Evening with the Residents at the Rio

Part Three of the Randy, Chuck and Bob Trilogy
 This is not a 3D photo

OK, I've seen the Residents perform probably more than most people should. And I've been fortunate to see the Residents perform at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, CA more than every other venue combined. That was easy to do when I lived in Santa Cruz, only a couple of blocks from the Rio, but now I live behind the Zion Curtain - a long thirteen-hour drive away.
3d photo of the Rio Theatre doors.

3D photo of a Hello Dolly record that Skinny found in the hall.

I go back home to Santa Cruz as frequently as possible and had been waiting for the Residents to announce US tour dates so that I could plan around that. One day, I learned through the grapevine that the Residents would be playing the Rio on March 12, giving me about three weeks to get time off, make travel arrangements and secure lodging. That's usually easy for me to do, but this time there were numerous obstacles to overcome... however, I made it.
I was pretty stoked when my tickets showed up in the mail. It was much easier when I could drop into Logos or Streetlight and buy tickets, but it was awesome that there was an on-line option. 

The long drive across Nevada was agonizing as usual. By the time I got to Auburn, I began to remember what it felt like to be alive again. My skin immediately responded to the wonderful moist air. So nice to be able to breathe. I sometimes feel somewhat suffocated out in the arid Deseret Territory. 

Revitalized! The wild mouse ride* from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz kept me awake and B4** I knew it, I was on Highway one, heading to my daughter's house in Pleasure Point where she and my son were waiting for me. All of us attended the show at the Rio the following night. My kids both grew up listening to the Residents and this was my 22 year old daughter's first Residents performance. Shadowland was my 25 year old son's sixth Residents show. He's been attending Residents performances with me since he was ten years old. Lucky lad!
Rio doors

There would be only two shows on this tour and when it was announced that Shadowland would be Charles Bobuck's final tour with the Residents, I was happy that I could attend to say adios to Chuck and wish him well. 
3d photo of the Rio Theatre ticket booth.

There were lots of familiar faces in attendance. Old Santa Cruz friends and folks I've met while waiting in line at other Residents shows. Residents people is good people.
3d photo of the Rio Theatre doors. 

The show opened with a 20 minute video that cataloged a short history of of the superintendents of the subterranean. Then after a short period of prelude music, (selections from Charles Bobuck's the Highway), the lights dimmed, and one by one, the Residents took the stage.
3D photo of projection orb. 

The first song of the evening was Rabbit Habit, from the Bunny Boy album. The singer was wearing a horned skull mask, white gloves, and a long-tail white jacket over a tight body suit made to look like muscles, veins and cartilage. He also sported a fancy golden codpiece.
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly  

 Photo courtesy of Don Fickles

At the conclusion of Rabbit Habit, the singer ripped his mask off and revealed his face. "Surprise! It's me, Randy, singer for the Residents," he announced. We were all SO surprised.
Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles. 

Randy introduced Chuck as "my former friend, the despicable Carlos." I suppose it was a jibe in reference to Chuck's announcement that he was retiring from touring. Throughout the Randy, Chuck and Bob Trilogy, Randy has consistently bad-mouthed Carlos, the Residents former drummer, because he retired from the band. Get over it, Randy!
 Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

 Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

Dressed in white jackets, the residents delivered an up-beat Vegas style show. Bob, who is often found sitting, Fripp style, at Residents performances, stood tall to assume rock star position for this tour. I really enjoyed watching his tall lanky frame squeeze out every last squeak and scratch from his guitar. Incredible.
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles. 

Shadowland is Part 3 of the Randy Chuck and Bob Trilogy and is all about birth and rebirth. The previous two shows on the Trilogy tours were about death and love, respectively. Therefore, the Randy Chuck and Bob Trilogy is "life in reverse" according to Randy. "What a concept" 

Shadowed Shadowlanders in 3D- life in reverse

3D photo of projection orb. 

Nifty images were projected onto a 5' diameter inflated orb as the power trio played their thematic musical selections of familiar tunes. Every few minutes, the lights would dim, and the Residents would stand at attention as short Shadow Stories were projected onto the orb.  

The Libertine - photo courtesy of Don Fickles

The Diver - Photo Courtesy of Don Fickles

Photo courtesy of Don Fickles

There were six Shadow Stories in all. The short monologues by the Butcher, the Libertine, the Garbage Man, the Diver, the Model's Mother, and the Engineer were humorous and a bit dark. Whenever I see a Residents performance, I'm reminded how dark they can be and I ask myself, "Do I really like this?"

The Residents chose Mourning Glories, one of my long time favorite songs, as an encore. The song originally appeared on the Not Available album which was my very first Residents record that I purchased at Cosmic Aeroplane way back in 1979.

As usual, there was some fancy schwag available for purchase. There were only 75-80 copies of a special edition Shadow Stories CD that were exclusively available at this show as part of the Shadowland CD debut. 
Limited edition Shadow Stories compact disc on fancy transparent wrapping shroud.

The limited edition Shadowland/Shadow Stories CD set came wrapped in a fancy transparent cellophane shroud that was easy and fun to unwrap & re-wrap. The Shadow Stories CD is made to look like a tiny record - black with grooves.
Shadowland/Shadow Stories CD's on shroud and backside of  Theory of Obscurity T-shirt.

From Santa Cruz, the Residents were off to premier their new documentary film, Theory of Obscurity at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. The Residents will also perform at SXSW which will be the final show on this tour. 
Photo courtesy of Rich O`Rielly

I'm interested to see the Residents' next incarnation. Will there be a Randy and Bob duo? Will the Residents break up? Will Chuck be uploaded onto the Residents' main-frame and become an electronique participant at future tours? Unanswered questions. 

Special thanks to Rich O'Rielly and Don Fickles for allowing me to use their photos.

* Highway 17 

** Santa Cruz lingo 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best Song of 2013

There were a plethora of great songs last year, but the one that ascended to the BEST OF position, is the Cogito's RemiX of Adrea Castiano's "Falling"

The Falling RemiX was recorded, produced and engineered by Mason Rosenberg who also played on, produced and recorded the original track for Adrea Castiano. The Falling RemiX is masterfully reconstructed and exemplifies an exaltation of the original piece while exhibiting superior technique and ability in the realm of remiX. 

The Cogito, a moniker used by musician extraordinaire,  Mason Rosenberghas demonstrated exhaustive expertise for half a decade with original and remiX compositions that are always amazing and pleasing to the ear.

The Cogito's Mason Rosenberg is maybe best known for playing bass in the Vox Jaguars, A Quantum Visionary and numerous other bands. Mason currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA and in addition to being a popular bassist, he also writes, produces and records music. Mason's bio is so vast that it requires a Wiki installment* to cover his musical activities sufficiently. 

Mason's work is highly respected among his musical peers. The ineffable Denney Joints** of Midnite Snack said "Mason is one of the most accomplished musicians I know... he has refined taste and knows the value of art and integrity..." Apollo Records recording artist, Oliver Nickell*** of Tree said "One thing I've always admired about Mason is his musical diversity and exploration of sound... [he] has covered much musical ground in a short lifespan." 

Congrats to the Cogito, a worthy recipient of Zenberg Bolgue's BEST SONG of 2013.

See Mason's Bio at: 

** "Mason is one of the most accomplished, most serious musicians I know. And his attitude isn't fucked up either, even on par with most frustrated people trying to have a better attitude. He has refined taste and knows the value of art and integrity over curly, golden locks." --Denney Joints

*** "One thing I've always admired about Mason is his musical diversity and exploration of sound. As the years progressed, his music has acquired a quite unique quality from experimenting and blending together many different genres. From his early work producing various music with Sir Paul in high school and their legendary live set at Harbor High's annual battle of the bands, his experimental effort in Pterodactobot, his contribution of raw power-driving baselines in the Vox Jaguars, and eventually his refined down-tempo, glitch-influenced production, the Cogito; Mason has covered much musical ground in a short lifespan."        --Oliver "Tree" Nickell

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tree Demons on the Mainland

Earlier this month, the postman delivered two very different, new releases from a couple of musical artists who both grew up in Santa Cruz, California. In fact, they both attended the same high school, at the same time, although neither have ever collaborated. 

Demons by TREE

Giving roots to a new genre, on September 3, Oliver Nickell, an artist who goes by the moniker Tree, teamed up with Beat Culture and released his first vinyl EP. Demons was released on the Apollo Records label, and is already receiving rave reviews in the UK and US. 

Tree's fresh approach to music doesn't fit into any particular genre and is therefore free of any presupposed assumptions or discrimination. To Oliver Nickell, the world around him is music, and he has mastered the art of morphing found sound into complex arrangements that edify the listening experience in a profoundly holistic way. 

The three tracks on Demons are mesmerizing and transcend pretty much everything happening in the music industry today. In addition to two original compositions, the record features a splendid cover of Radiohead's Karma Police that is complimentary to the original  version while broadening the spectrum of the popular piece. 

We'll no doubt be hearing more form Tree

Cheque out more Tree for free on Soundcloud and purchase Demons here.

Girls Unknown by MAINLAND

Jordy Topf first gained notoriety with the Vox Jaguars whose popular song, Swagger, was named among the 20 Best Indie Songs of 2009 and has been played regularly on XM Radio, featured on the big screen, as well as international and prime-time TV. 

In 2010, Toph left the promising Vox Jaguars and moved to New York City where he formed, Mainland, a hipster/indie band that has received notoriety in the Big Apple. Mainland just released their first EP, Girls Unknown, which, so far, hasn't received as much attention at his former band, but nevertheless, exhibits some exceptionally promising material that will no doubt please listeners of all ages. 

The first track, Wasted, is probably the most addicting song I have ever heard and now it plays in my head almost constantly. Wasted may be the most catchy song on the CD, however, my preferred track is Twin Cities, a Beatlesque song that features what has become my favorite guitar solo of 2013. Corey Mullee's straight-forward technique is crisp clean and honest - like a George Harrison riff from an early Beatles song. 

Other members of Mainland include Alex Pitta on bass and Dylan Longstreet on drums. Girls Unknown was produced by long time friend of Topf, Luke David, who also performed production duties for the Vox Jaguars' first CD, Out of Luck

Mainland is currently in Austin, Texas, recording a full-length CD.

Purchase Girls Unknown here and listen free on Spotify.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

BEST Album of 2012 - Brad Stock's Atomic Clock - Timeless and Timely

It isn't uncommon for someone to give me a copy of their personal music CD to review. It is, however, uncommon when the gift engages my interest. And then, there's the one in a million that turns out to be something special. 

Brad Stock's Atomic Clock is Something Special.

Last year, I drove to Salt Lake to watch Pink Floyd's The Wall at Brewvies Cinema Pub where Salt Lake's local, listener-sponsored community radio station, KRCL, hosts a monthly Night at the Movies to help fund broadcast operations costs. I hadn't seen The Wall in a theater since it was first released in 1982, and I was looking forward to watching it on the big screen again. 

As I sat in the dining area awaiting the theater doors to open, I spied an unassuming gentleman sitting at the bar wearing a Pink Godzilla T-shirt, a rare and unusual sighting behind the Zion Curtain.

Pink Godzilla is a sushi restaurant on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz that the locals all call Pinky G's. "Maybe he's from my little beach town," I mused as I approached him and asked:

"Did you get that Pink Godzilla T-shirt in Santa Cruz?" 

"Yeah, did you get that DJ's Mini-Mart T-shirt in Santa Cruz?" was his reply.

I had forgotten that I was wearing my DJ's T. As you might have guessed, the gentleman wearing the Pinky G's shirt turned out to be Brad Stock. He was there to see The Wall too, and apparently had thematically selected his shirt for the occasion. I'm happy that he did, otherwise, I may have never met Brad Stock or heard his amazing Atomic Clock, Rhetro Zenberg's selection for BEST Album of 2012.

As Brad Stock and I chatted before the movie began, I learned that he was an avid surfer and had picked up the Pinky G's shirt whilst on a surfing trip to Santa Cruz. He also told me about his newly completed CD that he was obviously very excited about, and presented me with a fresh copy of the Atomic Clock CD along with some Blorbs - decal replicas of the disc image that I'm seeing stuck on signs nearly everywhere I go these days.

Brad made me promise that I'd wear headphones the first time I listened to his album. He wanted to ensure that I'd have the opportunity to appreciate the quality and depth of the music. I was tempted to play it in the car on my 40-minute drive home, but I refrained, and waited until I could listen as Brad had prescribed. 

Time to Hear the Atomic Clock

I prefer to listen to new music on headphones for my first listen anyway, so I was comfortable with the notion of taking time late at night, to sit alone in the dark. With no visual distractions and the phones snug against my ears, I pushed play, laid back, closed my eyes and heard "the Sun" rise. Before I knew it, "the Moon" was coming up like a big bald head and I had completed my first experience with the Atomic Clock. The music had drawn me in so deeply that I felt as though I had been meditating. 

The first time hearing the Atomic Clock was moving in a way that was natural and cosmic... kind of like the first time that I heard Pink FloydNot to say that the Atomic Clock is anything like Pink Floyd or progressive rock in general for that matter. The Atomic Clock doesn't overwhelm the listener with the excessive experimentation that occasionally* drags down progressive rock compositions. The Atomic Clock resonates with a vibe of goodness, whereas prog rock tends** to be a bit gloomy. There's no time for doom n gloom on the Atomic Clock - which is more of a soundtrack for living and celebrating life. It's all good.


The Atomic Clock consists of ten unique and nicely woven compositions that eclectically bridge any genre gap. The songs are all cleverly written, and obviously composed by someone who possesses a wide scope of life experience and musical influence.***  The songs demonstrate a broad variety of flexibility and depth that keep the listener intrigued and engaged. No two are alike, nevertheless, each has its time in the spotlight. To me, one quality that stands out on the Atomic Clock, is its timelessness. It doesn't seem to be restricted to time and space or style.

For the most part, the Atomic Clock is feel-good music that makes a nice soundtrack for anything you might be doing. Brad told me that he wanted to make music "that would move and reach people." It turns out that the Atomic Clock is the result of a late night wish in Hawaii. Brad recalled that night, "while standing outside, looking up at the night sky, I put my wish out there." 

When the choice came down to a significant five minute decision at the bus station, Brad remembered the words of a wise friend who had encouraged him to follow his bliss. Brad's journey had led him to a place where he'd have to decide - which bus to take. Brad remembered his trusted friend's advice and heeded his counsel. On the bus ride of life, Brad Stock's alternative destination would have materialized drastically different had he taken the other bus. 

Brad followed his bliss all the way to the Beehive State where he met music producer Matt Winegar**** who had availability in his schedule at the perfect time to produce the Atomic Clock

Matt Winegar told me in an interview that he really enjoyed working with Brad on the project and is happy with the way it turned out. He told me that the song, "It Blows" is one of his favorite tracks on the album, and one of the most memorable. Brad remembers that when they began working on that song, Winegar asked him:

"How Zappa do you want to go on this one?" 

Brad remembered that Zappa percussionist, Ed Mann, was a Facebook friend, and decided to invite him to play on the track. "I sent him the song and he said he dug it and would be happy to play on it..." Winegar remembers that Mann provided a lot of great sound surprises, including a nifty little marimba riff that adds to the already prevalent Zappa nuance. 

The Atomic Clock is awesome and timely on many levels and Matt Winegar's production skills augmented Brad's talent and personal vision of the songs. The track, "Hoot 'n Holler Annie" features some lovely strings***** and a beautiful arrangement for an intriguing song about a toe found on the side of the road. It makes me ponder what a Nilsson/Martin team might have realized had they worked together. "Hoot 'n Holler Annie" is about as close as you'll get. 

The song, "One of My Better Days," is an upbeat semi-Reggae song about a day that is good because of all of the things that didn't happen, such as: 

"I Didn't lose my music to a glitch in my iTunes...
...Didn't get crushed by a random boulder..."   

I don't have a favorite song on the Atomic Clock, but I regularly find myself singing or whistling the ultra catchy tune "Chasing the Buddha...til we meet again."

In conclusion, like I always say, "If life is fair" the Atomic Clock will become a classic. It already is on the Zenberg Blogue and for a handful of lucky people who have already discovered it. Congratulations to Brad Stock, and everyone who contributed to making the Atomic Clock a reality. Tis a fine contribution to the musical universe. God speed to ya Brad Stock!

3D image of Brad Stock standing on Mars at the Clark Planetarium where the Atomic Clock was featured for two runs as a CSI laser show in the main dome. The light show is rumored to be appearing in other major cities in the near future. Don't miss it. 


* Certainly not always.

** Generally but not as a rule. The positive aspect of the Atomic Clock is what ultimately earned it Best Album status. Other albums under consideration this year, (Anywhere by Anywhere and Spine Hits by Sleepy Sun), were a bit dark. 

*** Adrian Belew, Al Stewart, the Beatles, Nilsson, Zappa to name a few

**** Matt Winegar has engineered, recorded and produced for such notables as Primus, Coheed in Cambria, Faith No More, to name a few. His recording studio is located in Salt Lake City.

***** This lovely string section was performed by Callie Reed who played both violin and cello on the track. 

purchase the Atomic Clock:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Residents - Again? Part 2 of the Randy, Chuck and Bob Trilogy

I've lost count of how many times I've shoveled snow this winter. My neighbor, Dylan, has been nice to clear the sidewalk in front of my house a couple of times with a snow blower. I have been using the old school method - snow shovel, which is sadly the only real exercise I get.

Three inches of ice covered by a foot of snow atop my roof for months on end has been far too common, therefore, earlier this month, a friend and I drove all the way to Santa Cruz, CA to get away from what seemed like an unrelenting winter, and to do some stuff that can't be enjoyed here in Utah, behind the Zion Curtain. 
One of the primary reasons we went to Santa Cruz was to see the Residents 40th Anniversary Tour at the Rio Theatre. Their final show on their US tour. 
The Residents power trio of Randy, Chuck and Bob played some of their biggest hits and even did a tribute to the late great Snakefinger. 
I love going to the Seabright Beach overlook at Atlantic Ave and 3rd where it is common to see a large peace sign constructed on the sand. 
I was getting some strange vibration sounds when driving between 15 and 20 mph, so I took my car to my mechanic friend, Waid, who checked it out thoroughly and informed me that it was only a tire wearing issue. Waid didn't even charge me for the inspection. I replaced and upgraded the tires when I got back to Utah. 

While we were waiting for Waid to inspect my car, we took a loaner over to Rosicrucian park in San Jose to check out the Egyptian museum there but unfortunately it was closed that day. 
The grounds of the museum and park were a nice place to relax whilst we waited to hear from Waid.

As usual, the pacific Ocean was spectacular. This picture was taken at Natural Bridges State Park.
Aaron's two grapefruit trees presented us with a most delicious specimen... BEST grapefruit I've ever eaten. 
And one that was a bit over-ripe.
The snails were having their way with Aaron's garden. He battled the slimy creatures every night and by the time we departed, it appeared that he had the upper hand on the situation. 
Before leaving town, we stumbled on a Blorb on Pacheco Avenue. God bless Brad Stock!
Twas wonderful to see my kids and SO many good friends. SO difficult to leave. I'll be back.

Friday, April 20, 2012

4/20 Post BIRDHAND Behind the Zion Curtain

Recently, my friends from the band, Birdhand, took time off from their US tour to stop in Tooele and hang out behind the Zion Curtain for a couple of days.
On Easter Sunday, we all piled into Wilma, (the Birdhand tour van), and traveled thirty or so miles to Temple Square in Salt Lake for a recital featuring the awesome Mormon Tabernacle Organ.
It was late in the afternoon, and no one had eaten yet, so after the recital, everyone hurried to the closest eatery for sustenance. JB's Big Boy was only a hop-skip-jump-n-stumble away, and before we knew it, we were enjoying the finest diner food in that part of Salt Lake.
On the way back to Tooele, we took a detour to some salt flats near Stansbury Island where Birdhand enjoyed some yoga on the salt with local yoga teacher, Heidi Rosenberg.

I got lots of great 3D photos of Birdhand as they frolicked under the bluest of skies. Their boots will never be quite the same.

Birdhand recently recorded one of my songs, so here, for the first time, is the full version of Guineapig Man performed by Birdhand.