FotoBlog: boston/NY/CT

5am touchdown, Logan International.

I fumble with my wristwatch to jump 3 hours into the future as we wait curbside for the Rental Car Shuttle to arrive.
It is dark. It is cold.

We’ve done this route before, the thought being we can save a few measly bucks & the early morning airport rush by taking that slutty stepsister of modern flight: The Red Eye.

But when the blast of cold air hits you (19 degrees?! Is there such a thing?) leaving the terminal you curse your former thrifty self.  And then the  unsmiling hotel clerk informs you the rooms will not be ready til 3pm, thank you very much.

Ah but this trip, to save us the usual humiliation of laying about the lobby like shattered refugees, we have the bright idea to use trendy  Air BnB to see if we can salvage some of our dignity.


After rousing Anthony from his apneaed slumber, we make our way downtown for lunch at McGreevy’s with our pals Brian and Irene from SF:

A quick walk down Newbury street to visit the usual spots, and the sun is already surrendering to the icy dark.    We report to the Middle East and meet up with our mates in F.U.’s and Silver Screams.

The show goes off well, a surprising amount of hardy locals braving the chill to cheer us on.

It is a rare treat to sleep in without the maids pounding on the door at 10 am, and we lounge about in pajamas sipping coffee before getting back in the minivan and heading South.

The Fall colors do not disappoint, and we stop at charming little towns along the way for the multiple urination stops befitting our age.

One little town square looks so artificially quaint I half expect the giant hand of a 10 year old girl to swoop down and grab us out of her play set.

No such luck.


We arrive in Brooklyn and check into the next AirBnB, following the owners’ specific instructions on where to park, where to go, and with whom not to make eye contact.  It’s fine, and get this, parking is free out on the rat infested streets of Bushwick!

With plenty of time to slum around, we head over to  Williamsburg to see what the crazy kids are up to these days.

I am threatened with bodily harm for snapping a pic of a trendoid Supreme pop up store; they apparently do not need the publicity to sell their 75 dollar Hanes Tee shirts.


We wander down Grand til we find a bar with a decent bathroom, and are soon shamed into ordering outrageously priced craft cocktails.

We have surrendered completely to the hipster neighborhood now, all scarves and V necks and we sip at spiced hot ciders served in miniature pounded copper spittoons.

We must leave this strange place before  our hair climbs unbeckoned into tidy buns atop our heads.

Showtime at Goldsounds Bushwick, and the joint is packed.  We have the treat of playing with our brothers in The Krays , who in turn bring up Davey Gunner to rip out Kraut’s Unemployed!

It is just great, once again to catch up with all our NY pals.  We’re out at a decent 1am, but the night is not over yet.

Nick has spent the day with neck craned, spying the skyscrapers of Manhattan from a distance.

Nick admits he has never done the goofy loop of Mid Town, so we load up the van and head to Times Square and become the gawking tourists we were meant to be!




Sunday comes to us way too early but this is matinee day-back up the 95 to New Haven CT and our beloved Cafe 9.

On our way out of Brooklyn we stumble across  the diner used in  Good Fellas and proceed to have a hearty breakfast while coughing up lines from the classic.  The waitress rolls her eyes and sighs, as apparently we are not the first clever boys to geek out thus:

We knew we were never going to come back from Florida alive.

The shine box, it was got.

We get to New Haven in time to catch Damn Broads setting up for the matinee set.  The rip through the afternoon as do The Ratz  before we get and do the thing one more time.


There maybe 30 people in the room, that’s counting the bartenders, other band members and the 2 guys fixing the walk in freezer.

It is of no concern, though, as these people have sacrificed a fine Sunday of couch and football to come meet us.  We do it once again:

This room always leaves us smiling, a rare and warm little cove, and we get off stage and hang with the locals as long as possible.

Loaded up and back on the road, we have a quick stop at JFK to drop off Ant and Nick as they have foolishly agreed to work Monday morning.

Kimm and I, however, have other plans of the bovine variety in mind:

We sit there at 11pm Sunday night, chewing thoughtfully at hunks of cow, charred and basted of butter.
It is a momentary and shocking lack of movement, to be sitting here amid the butcher block and surly waiters, chairs being stacked as we are among the last of the diners.

It seems we have come to the end of another one of these brief adventures.

We stab toward the windows looking out at the city with stocky steaknives, as we tell each other stories we both know by heart.
We can’t help but reminisce on this city and what it has meant to us.

Dessert comes with coffee, then we push chairs back in submission.

Woozy from too much red meat and tired – finally, admittedly, tired –  we allow ourselves to act our age and look forward to sleep and home.

Put ’em up

….the crack in your heart let the light turn black, hope all turn to gloom
What will load each empty chamber?  Which caliber of doom?


Not sure what constitutes the family dinner table these days.

Perhaps you can get them all together in the same room for a meal, all gluten-free and  vegan approved, doled out by Blue Apron or UberEats.    We open the right app on a screen and are rewarded with nutrition, reduced to lab rats pushing the correct button after all.

Conversation is now replaced by the swipe and click of a half-dozen personal screens, each member of the tribe on a different episode of Stranger Thingsahem!

We were lucky enough to enjoy the last vestiges of the nightly hearth back in the 1970’s, modeled after the Bradys in their rancho deluxo tract home:  Dad at one side of table, mom at the other and grandma, Obaasan, hovering over us all.

We all somehow had a sense that the end of innocence was coming very soon, but for a brief golden moment each weekday evening, we could relax with our family as a whole.  Milk shooting out of nostrils upon punchline, curse words tested in front of the parents, inside jokes amongst brothers and sisters: living in a big family, this is the stuff you remember.

Now someone tips his chair backwards completely.
Mash potatoes splatter, undetectable upon the asbestos moonscape of the ceiling.
The Doctor would put down knife and fork and wipe his mouth.  He’d look around the table, bewildered by the savages he can barely still recognize, and ask, “What’s so funny?”


The modern day campfire, that’s where you learn the personal history of your family.   Dad’s earliest days on the frozen streets of Philly,  Grandma coming over from Hawaii to cook food for Ojiisan’s shady Yakuza-adjacent cronies.

And of course around that table is where we first heard the stories of the Internment Camps  of WWII.

Mom and her brothers being forced from home, bringing only what they could carry.  Grandpa burying his precious ceremonial swords to keep the hovering Oakies from grabbing them as they would ransack the house-a home!– that would be vacant tomorrow.
They would live along the pungent paddocks of Santa Anita before being shipped away.   Mom would tell of her adolescent years in a prison camp, the camp dances and boys, and it sounded almost quaint.

But  I recall that inexpressible rage.   It was history, but not in the History books.

That would come back to the surface when we first got into a recording studio for the track  Manzanar.

The connection between inspiration and the memories absorbed by your DNA, well, it’s about the best you can hope for when you get to the lyrics.   You hear those stories, that familial poetry often enough, and it becomes the very myth of your life.

A tale that has been left half written, awaiting you to come up with the ending.

Jerome Relocation Camp, Arkansas


We’d been working steadily on the songs the last month.  We had a pretty good handle on which ones would be recorded, which ones we’d let go.

In the strange transatlantic process we were now comfortable with, we would track each session and Dropbox the batch over to producer Jay.  He would peruse with his morning mug of Kaffee in Hanover as we slumbered through the  Pacific Standard witching hours.   He’d email his notes (Cheesy.  Cut in half.  The Producer will allow it-once!) and then we’d repeat the process.

Everyone had their own homework on the tasks that lay ahead.  Kimm gets to work on guitar parts, Nick comes in with new beats each session, whittling the parts into songs.   Anthony washes his DOA shirt in preparation for bass tracking day.

So now it was time for me start naming these new pets, baptizing some of the tracks with silly working titles, while others seemed to have the words jumping forth from the very subliminal code of their beat and key.

In the past I would have the songs complete, and report to recording Day One with notebooks of hilariously self important lyrics written down to the pompous semicolon.
Nowadays? Eh.
Let the songs tell us what they wanna be called, wot?

Still, gotta stay ahead of things.  You search your battered matter for inspiration, jot down a grip of song titles in the middle of the night that will appear absolutely stupid in the morning light.   
I drive around aimlessly blasting the rehearsal tracks over Bluetooth, screaming inane phrases into a digital recorder, hoping something might stick.

We had that one strange off tempo song, all minor key and empty space.  The stepping off point was of course London Calling, the rhythmic strike of guitar, the spare line of lead mirroring the Simononesque bass hook of the victim.

On the television, our new leader continued his frenzied hate rallies, as if he was unaware the election was over–and he won!

The chants of Build a Wall, of Put her in Jail!, well.



What we had here, apparently, was leadership built of bumper stickers.
The national discourse now reduced to slogans embroidered on red baseball caps.

Fuck you.  No, Fuck you.

There is always that racist undercurrent to anything this guy says, and you get the sense that it is just a matter of time before he starts yelling Nigger! or Chink! to his frothing masses.  I am reminded of the spark, the inner twinge of pain that brought forth Manzanar and how, sadly, that bitter ember is stoked again.
I am back at the dinner table, listening to those stories of injustice. Acts of hate disguised as patriotism.

Fighting words, hurled like buckets of feces from both sides of a wall that is threatened  to grow ever larger.
And so we boil it down to its schoolyard essence, Put ‘Em Up.




Water & Time

….she pointed at her heart then she pointed my way   
She shook her head no, that was all she had to say….

January, and we gather on rainy nights and–would ya believe?-even Saturday afternoons!– to sift through the riffs (and raff) that have collected the past few years.

Now we are into that messy business of assembling parts into songs: throwing out the stuff that simply doesn’t come into form, coaxing out structures from disjointed bits.

I imagine an exhausted working mom coming home and staring into the fridge, wondering what sort of meal she can throw together from the chilled ingredients staring back at her.


It’s harsh business at times, you bring in a part that sounded just huge when you were playing it on the couch last night, but once you play it for the lads it is met with a shrug and meh.
You’ve brought the latest finger painted masterpiece home, but this one will not be hung on the refrigerator.

So you throw it out and move to something else, try to get a grip on how that can become a song.



There was one sketch that Jay sent me that kept coming back in each session.
4 derivatives of a D chord, played on the beat 1-3-5-7 simple and pure.
But what the hell we gonna do with that?


We hauled it out each time and stumbled along until giving up and throwing it back on the pile til next session.

But it only takes a small reflection to get a handle on a song, a different perspective.
A glimpse that reveals that thing, like a print or sculpture viewed from a side alcove of the gallery instead of from straight on: Ah.

The riff of course echoed Clash City Rockers, so we set about to basically rip that off, down to the very break (yeah yeah!) in verse two.
We call it homage, not plagiarism, by the way.

We’ve found that if you start with a song in mind, you’ve got a nice jumping off point, but it ends up somewhere else indeed.
Most people have this strange Déjà vu tingle when they listen to it, but they can’t quite place it, unless some asshole comes right out and explains the trick.


So now we have a handle on what we’re gonna do, time to start putting the parts together on chart.
Of course we can’t read music, silly–much less write it!

So we jot down notes, making up names as we go along, anything to jog the battered memories for the next time we tackle the song in progress.

We come across a series of descending chords and a brief intellectual discussion on the actual musical term ensues:

What is that, what ya call it, a glissando? Opposite of crescendo?
Nah man, that’s a modulation redux! Look it up….
What? Get the fuck outta here, that’s what’s know as retardāre.
You’re the Retard!
No you are…!


We settle on calling it a dogleg, for lack of any better term, and move on.




When you write a new song, you can’t help but compare yourself to that 19 year old kid that so effortlessly made up a song that somehow connected way back when.

You come to the realization.  You are not going to write like that kid, you are not going to sound like him. 
There has been a lifetime of pain and boredom, a novel of hilarity and small index of triumphs. 

So better or worse, we are on the other side of that divide: can’t call it wisdom, pray it’s not cynicism, but we have become separated from the idealistic kids in the garage, and can only wave to them from other side.