For those in the Austin area, I will be performing tonight at Volente Beach with No Show Ponies. I’m excited for this show as I will get to perform with my brother Ben, who is in Austin for a limited time only. It’s adult swim out there so the show is 18 and up only. Tickets are $9, which gets you to hear a whole night of live music, along with swimming and water rides. I was skeptical to play what is primarily known as a water park, but everyone I have talked to speaks highly of the place and especially their adult swim nights. We are the last of several bands and we go on at 10pm. We will be performing songs off of our album, A Manual For Defeat, and more.
Tonight my band No Show Ponies will be playing at Hole in the Wall in Austin at 9pm. I try not to over promote my own shit on here, as I want this site to have value in and of itself. However, tonight is a special show as my brother moved away a year ago and this is one of the very few times we may get to play music together for the immediate future. Above is a Joe Strummer song that we often cover. “Going to the Mountaintop”!
If you want to hear us here is a link to our record that we recorded two years ago in Austin with Ramsay Midwood at the helm. Recording mostly live to some quarter inch analog tape. You can stream the album in full.
I usually don’t like the way YouTube videos of shows turn out. The lighting is usually bad, the sound worse, the way it’s filmed makes you want to crawl into a cave and die. However, this one turned out pretty good. This is my former band, No Show Ponies, playing at Strange Brew in Austin, Texas. We played the small listening room in Austin earlier this year. It is one of the best sounding rooms in Austin. My brother Ben is on guitar and vocals. Alex Moralez, who is also playing with me in my current solo project, is on drums. The set is a mix of original songs and covers, but it is only part of the set. On that day we covered Joe Strummer, Lou Reed, John Hiatt, and Jackson Browne. The rest of the songs are ours. Some of them our from our album A Manual for Defeat, and some are newer. If you are bored at work today, plug in your headphones, pretend to look busy, and have a listen…
This weekend I will be appearing at Strange Brew with No Show Ponies in Austin, Texas at 10pm. Strange Brew was voted the best sounding room in Austin. This is a really important show for us and we would be greatly appreciative if any of you in the area could make the journey out Friday night. We will be unveiling several new compositions and giving away a limited number of free downloads of our new album A Manual for Defeat to those of you that make it out.
You can listen to what we do at http://www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com
I will also be appearing tonight with Shinyribs in Bryan, Texas. We will be at the Grand Stafford Theater.
This weekend Shinyribs will be appearing at Old Settler’s Festival on both Saturday and Sunday.
You can learn more about Shinyribs at http://www.shinyribs.org.
I will be appearing with No Show Ponies today at South Austin Brewery at 12 noon. We will also be on ChannelAustin which is Channel 10 on your local Austin cable provider. For those of you not in the Austin area you can find us at 12pm Central Time at http://www.youtube.com/infynithour.
We will also be at Sam’s Town Point tonight, one of our favorite local bars, at 11pm.
In the future, when all’s well…
You can also stream or purchase our album, A Manual for Defeat, at http://www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com
Blogging has been a little slow the last 48 hours. As well as other things I’ve been focusing on songwriting. There are songwriters that can write something almost every time they sit down and then there are guys like Leonard Cohen whose process is really slow. I’m somewhere in the middle. Once I find inspiration I will complete a series of things rather quickly. However in between those bursts of inspiration I may lie dormant for a month or two, sometimes even longer.
I’m always attempting to write, but if I’m not inspired much of what I write is garbage. I would say that 80% of the things that I write I toss out. Another 10% roughly falls through the cracks. Only maybe 10% of the things I have written ever see the stage or the recording studio. Even after that, except for our last record where I believe in every song, I feel like only a percentage of those things have reached some kind of definitive form. Basically it is tons and tons of song writing to achieve those moments that I feel are perfect.
Even if you write something great there are so many ways it can go wrong. The arrangement can be subpar. You could have a great arrangement and the performance is lacking. You could even have a great song with a great performance and the mix just somehow sucks the life out of it. As in life, so much is out of your control. You not only need to write great material, but you need to have the right musicians, the right producer, and the right energy at the time of recording.
The thing that was so beautiful about our new record, A Manual for Defeat, was that the process itself cut out a lot of the bullshit that can go wrong from point A to point B. I love creating in the studio. It drives some people nuts, but it’s actually total fun for me. It’s also a way for things to go horribly wrong. You might stumble upon something completely new, but when you don’t have a lot of money especially, you can just as easily over-think things and lose the initial passion of a piece. So many musicians will tell you that they love their demos more than their actual records. Until we did this new record my favorite No Show Ponies recordings that we ever did were Ben and I fucking about on Garage Band on my brother’s Mac. The demos the two of us made sounded thin and cheap sounding, but there was a certain magic captured on those things that we never replicated anywhere else.
With A Manual for Defeat we made the simplest record possible, which with a low budget worked out better than I could have imagined. We just rehearsed a lot and then cut things basically live to tape with as little overdubbing as we could get away with. The beauty of analog tape is that you instantly can tell on playback if you got something or not. I’m not really a tape or digital guy as it really depends on the project and who is helming the technical side of things. But for me the problem with digital is that you often don’t know what you have got until much later in the process. If you don’t have a lot of money there is no time to start over if you realize something wasn’t quite where it needs to be. Also just as a side note, dear God in heaven stay away from digital reverb.
I’m always afraid of making something middle of the road, although there have definitely been times when my best intentions have gone astray. I feel like you should either be trying to make Sgt. Pepper or The Misfit’s Static Age. By that I mean you should either be as ambitious as possible or you should just try to capture something raw and real. The universe will give you hints as to what route to take if you can get your ego out of the way. Often limitations, if shepherded down the right alley, will force you to be creative. It’s when you force things that aren’t meant to be that you get into trouble.
I’m working on my 7th record right now, as well as having worked on a whole host of other things such as soundtracks, demos, singles, EP’s, etc. I feel like only in the last two years have I got to a place where I sort of know what I’m doing, where I trust my instincts to be right more often than not. Although as I’m fond of saying: Time makes monkeys of us all.
And now for a brief moment of shameless self promotion: My band No Show Ponies will be playing two shows this Thursday during SXSW:
At Noon we will be doing a live TV Taping at South Austin Brewery.
At 10pm we will be playing at 10pm at Sam’s Town Point
More information to follow. In the meantime check out our new record, A Manual for Defeat, at http://www.noshowponies.bandcamp.com.