Stories from the Porch

ADVAETA records 2 songs in a rowhouse music studio next to my house

I was sitting on the front porch smoking a roll up when a SUV with New Jersey license plates pulls up filled with young women who looked like they were lost, but then their looks turned to open hostility when they pulled into the alley and stared me down from their open windows. They drove around back and pulled into my neighbor’s backyard and started to unload guitars and a bunch of big amplifiers.  I watched them a bit as I took the trash out, and then I went back out to the front porch. My neighbor comes out onto his porch with a bowl of guac, and a bag of hard shell tortillas, and I ask him if he is recording a band today. He says “Yeah, I met this band last night, they played at a house over on Delafield, and someone videoed them, but the sound didn’t come out, so I’m recording two of their songs to go with the video.” I asked him what they were called, and he said he did not know.  He went outside when they played the night before because they were so loud, and he already has done some severe damage to his right ear. I thought to myself, great, a super loud band recording in the row house next to mine on a Saturday afternoon, what have I done to deserve this?

So after they finished bringing their equipment into the back of the house, they pulled back around front and headed for the house, and I overcame my shyness and asked them what the name of the band was.

Two of the ladies both had to say it twice before I could understand.

ADVAETA

I prepared myself to be extremely annoyed at having my peaceful day ruined by loud noises coming through the walls, the bass rattling the pipes, the floor vibrating, but I was resigned to accept what was about to happen to me, as I have when Paperhaus, or Lightfoot, or  other bands would rehearse or record at various hours on various days for the past year. I wasn’t going to be “The Pumpkin Eater”, who lived next door to us in Mt. Pleasant and called the cops on us multiple times while we were working out our lurid traversals.

Turns out that ADVAETA is great and quite the professionals. They busted out two tunes in the time it took me to dry off from a shower and perform my home dental hygienic routine.

For some reason they brought to mind Nisennenmondai, who graced us all with their presence here in DC a few years back at the Warehouse Nextdoor, along with another quick show in Baltimore, and who stayed with my wife and I in our former apartment over by the Cathedral. While their manager, Katoman, and I went out to Aroma, the Nisennenmondais crafted with the wife. I also remember that Katoman’s suitcase was so heavy at 100 lbs that the check in staff at BWI Airport made him split everything into several other bags. His suitcase was so heavy, in fact, that when I started to pull out of the airport onto the on ramp after getting them settled in, my muffler fell off of my Oldsmobile.

I started to seek ADVAETA out on the googleplex machine though I didn’t really know how to spell their name. Kept finding information about a similarly named Indian fusion band.

The rest is the best of what I found and I hope to catch them next time they come back to town. I wanted to ask them if I could take a picture, especially when one of them was standing on top of their SUV, but I was too shy to ask them. It turned out to be a good day after all and I learned something new.

If this keeps up, I will never have to leave the house.

“Advaeta Made Me Brunch” from My Social List Blog

This tune on the youtube is powerfully moving.

Advaeta Blogspot

ADVAETA Indian Summer Tour Dates from Hear.Say Press

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The Thai Room is Under New Managment, and They’re Serving Smoked Ribs and Chicken, and a lot of Bourbon

From what I can tell, the Thai Room that used to be on Connecticut Avenue in NW DC up there where Nebraska Avenue crosses, closed up shop in 2005 after a 30 year run.  I think there’s some kind of ping pong pizza restaurant with an even better known locally famous sign there these days that lets free form jazz pick up combos make experimental noises in the back.

I moved to the Washington, DC area in 1991, first to Arlington, then finally helping to start up a group house in Mt. Pleasant in 1993 with some other musicians that only liked to play in odd time signatures. The Thai Room was just always there. I know I went there on at least one date, maybe two, and I can’t remember if there were many other Thai restaurants around at the time. Couldn’t tell you if the food was good or not. Not sure if my palate was advanced enough at the time, probably isn’t that advanced even now.

But I do remember liking two things:

– All the green plants they had in the windows

– And their sign

I am not sure where the plants ended up, and if they are still living healthy plant lives or not.

I hope they are.

But I know where the sign is.

It’s in my friend’s backyard.

The Thai Room sign lives on. Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Thai Room sign lives on.
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The new Thai Room is now located in the old Walter Reed area of Washington, DC and serves a seasonal prix fixe menu. Last time I was there I was offered deliciously smoked pork ribs, a green bean salad brought by another guest, and teeny tiny roasted potatoes. They have a strict BYOB policy, so I accompanied my meal with a 24 pack of Modelo Especial. Usually there is bourbon readily available, but the chef had finished it off two nights before, and finished all the Hornitos Tequila before I had arrived. Since the actual Thai Room Restaurant portion of the new site is only located outside, within the confines of a worn down fence that at times may catch fire from randomly placed candles, they have a smoking “at-will” policy, which is pretty nice (I almost wrote “sweet” here, but everyone knows I don’t actually talk that way). The new owners smoke more cigarettes than are usually available, and you may at a moment’s notice be sent out on a “ciggy run” to one of the many nearby liquor stores to make a transaction through bullet proof glass. One of the last times I visited this establishment, I was smoking on the upper deck waiting for an order of fish tacos with smoked jalapeno peppers, when I and all of the other guests were pelted by unripened pears tossed over the fence by neighborhood youths who immediately fled when I stood on my rocking chair and pointed directly at them with a look that said “you little mongrel pricks”.  Other nights I had enjoyed smoked chicken without incident. And I vaguely remember a special holiday dinner for St. Patrick’s one year that featured corned beef hash nicely done and accompanied with Jameson’s and those big bottles of Guinness Extra Stout.

Other pluses that make this joint favorable to me are:

– The availability of parking though it’s on a one way street

– The human jukebox who only plays 78 rpm records through one of those furniture pieces your grand pappy used to have

– The utilization of grown on the premises vegetables (tomatoes, lettuces, peppers, cucumbers)

– The homemade pickles

– The puppy who doesn’t bark and smells good.  Really good. The puppy in fact provided the after dinner entertainment the other night by leaping back and forth into the sprinkler.

The biggest plus for me is that if there is a queue for the single occupancy water closet sandwiched between two bedrooms , it is encouraged by the management that you piss in the garden.

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Raccoon in daylight not good. Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

Raccoon in daylight not good.
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

Raccoon in daylight could mean rabies. Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

Raccoon in daylight could mean rabies.
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

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Do not get this close to a raccoon during the daylight hours

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Bettye and Shuggie in San Javier

“It’s only taken me 50 years to become an overnight success..”
I love her so much

Moore:Music ®

CIMG5067In the stage-side cafe at San Javier Jazz festival

Hot on the heels of the Cazorla Blues Festival comes the San Javier Jazz festival. The name is somewhat redundant, as Uriah Heep are appearing this year, and if they’re jazz then I’m a teapot. but, be that as it may, at least the festival, strung out over an entire month and situated in a town only a couple of hours away from where we live, affords the possibility of seeing world-class talent under the Spanish sun.

The night we picked featured Bettye LaVette, a singer who’d only come to my attention via Jools Holland’s BBC2 show ‘Later’, and who’d greatly impressed. As Bettye herself said on the night, “It’s only taken me 50 years to become an overnight success..” Approaching 70, she’s had a long, hard career in the music business, starting with her debut single in 1962: “My man-…

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Bettye LaVette – How do I get to meet a woman like you?

I read her book in two days last week,

“Bettye LaVette – A Woman Like Me”

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It’s kind of like reading James Brown’s autobiography in that it’s not really well written, but the stories are amazing all the same.

You get to hear about all the people she knew over the years…Aretha, Solomon Burke, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, and a cast of other knowns, semi-knowns, and completely unknowns, and how she just kept on having “Buzzard Luck“.

Read the book, it won’t take you much time. It’s an interesting perspective from someone involved in a particular history who just didn’t make it until relatively recently.

Her website is full of information on what going on with her these days so keep yourself posted if interested.

I have been listening to her only for the past few years after stumbling across a recent release while shopping at Dusty Groove.

That release was “Bettye LaVette – I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise” released on ANTI- in 2005.

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Stand out track on this one for me is her version of Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow”.

This live version may be even better than the LP cut.

Bettye’s  version is quite a bit different than Dolly Parton’s, which of course is a classic in itself.

My love of the “I’ve Got my Own Hell To Raise” LP led to the purchase of “Betty LaVette- Do Your Duty” released in 2006 on Sundazed (LP-5208) from recordings made in 1969-1970.  Sundazed has a lot going there at their own site, might be too hard to leave once you get there.

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The most moving track on “Do Your Duty” for me is “He Made a Woman Out of Me”.

Certainly funky soulful stuff yes?

I missed her original performances in DC, but I was lucky enough to catch her at the newly renovated Howard Theatre on May 18th, 2013 with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Between the two acts, though I am not much of a dancer, I found myself jumping up onto my chair (our group of 6 had fought hard for a table up front), and letting my 6’4″ frame move in ways once thought impossible.

The Blind Boys of Alabama & Bettye LaVette tickets to the Howard Theatre show on May 18, 2013

The Blind Boys of Alabama & Bettye LaVette tickets to the Howard Theatre show on May 18, 2013.
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The somewhat newly renovated Howard Theatre Washington, DC

The somewhat newly renovated Howard Theatre Washington, DC.
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

Bettye LaVette live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

Bettye LaVette live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Blind Boys of Alabama live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Blind Boys of Alabama live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Blind Boys of Alabama live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Blind Boys of Alabama live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Blind Boys of Alabama walking through the crowd live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

The Blind Boys of Alabama walking through the crowd live at the Howard Theatre, Washington, DC May 18th, 2013, photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

It is possible that the four $20 double rye whiskey’s may have helped.

I cannot wait to see her perform live again.

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Bettye LaVette Live at the Howard Theater January 9th, 2014.
Photo by Joe McRedmond

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Bettye LaVette’s Band Live at the Howard Theater January 9th, 2014.
Photo by Joe McRedmond

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Bettye LaVette Live at the Howard Theater January 9th, 2014.
Photo by Joe McRedmond

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Unemployable (Time to Make the Buttons)

I lost my job this week, and moments after it happened my first great big creative idea that came out of nowhere was to make “Unemployable” buttons with my American Button Machine that I ordered from their official site .

American Button Machine Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

American Button Machine
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

I was excited and figured with my new found freedom that if I worked hard enough all I had to do was make 500 thousand and sell them for a dollar each.

As soon as I got home I searched the internet to see if this idea had been done yet to date and immediately found that it had. First website I looked at was Zazzle and I saw that they had already thought this through at their own site and they are selling them for much more than a dollar.

I think though, with your help, we could improve upon the design.

I am free most of the week if you want to help me get started on this project.

First Button Attempts Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

First Button Attempts
Photo by Joseph P. McRedmond

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No Brakes (Dirty Dinner at Calleva Farm)

 

Had another honky tonk situation yesterday. Loaded my Malibu with my equipment and headed over to the Colonel’s to then unload my car and reload my equipment and his equipment into the minivan. Then we headed off to the Dirty Dinner in Dickerson, MD. Nice drive along Route 28 to White’s Ferry Road, watch out for the multiple speed cameras, turn right on Martinsburg Road, and then pull into the farm. Kind of on your own from there basically in the wilderness, and nobody to direct you, just follow the handmade signs for “Dirty Dinner this way —>”.  Since it’s an educational farm at the height of summer camp season we got a lot of help unloading and hauling the gear across the field to the freshly made wood stage still covered in saw dust. Matt the promoter said that immediately after we play they burn the stage in the bonfire. He also explained that we were standing on the site of the staging area for the Haunted Forest, which brought me back to 4 or 5 years ago when I went on a trip there with Dr. Do in a limousine bus and when we got chased by the chainsaw guy and she fell on her back in the mud. She was 60 at the time and had already had one heart attack. Matt said one time the chainsaw guy was chasing a girl with long hair and though the chainsaw did not actually have a chain, her hair got caught anyway, and the two of them had to head over to the machine shop to get her hair unstuck. So we get set up and of course Bobby calls me once he realizes he has the wrong address and instead is headed to the office on another road in a different town in Maryland, Poolesville maybe. Matt brings us a cold pepperoni pizza and bags of pretzels on ice. Colonel’s got a small cooler of Beck’s and a flask of bourbon so we’re good. People’s start arriving and there’s a few hayrides, and I’m taking pictures of everything, the cows, the pigs, the goats, the horses, the table set up, completely killing my battery life. Can’t smoke there publicly, so I get my boots red dust dirty behind an unused shed. Showtime at 7pm, and we start with “Dead Flowers”, our usual sound check tune. The stage is maybe 2 feet from the closest table and I’m whispering to the Colonel to don’t play too loud, don’t play too loud. I was having a great time playing country music in such an open area, watching the cows react and looking at windmills, and homemade water towers and such. My heart got a little broken though when a women right in front of us starts to yell to her friends in between songs that now they could finally talk to each other. When we start the next song she pretends to write her conversation on a napkin. Colonel of course is having the time of his life in his seersucker suit and Italian made straw vaudeville hat. I stay in the game because I can see a few heads bobbing up and down. The slower waltz numbers always go over well, and the Willie Nelson covers were paced pretty perfectly. We take a break at 8:30 to search for some of this dirty dinner food to learn that the pizza was it, even the staff don’t get to eat until the end if there’s any food left. We smoke behind the vans, use the portipotties with fresh flowers in them, and hide off in the darkness. Pick it back up at 9, Little Joe gave me a Tecate, and we start to play audibles. People start to dance. We play Hank Williams’ “Howlin’ at the Moon” to try to conjure up the moon on what looks to be a moonless night. Owoooo! Werewolf of London. The stage lights are attracting bugs by the millions and they’re landing on our fretboards, and crawling down the back of our necks. I get bit next to my lip and my cheek starts to swell, but now we’re in a shuffle and I can’t disappoint the boys by missing a note. Just too damn fast. The night dew mixed with sawdust is on everything. The set list is wet. So we end it at 10 and start to pack it up in the dark. I bang my head hard on the upper latch for the van back doors, kind of sobered me up. Calleva staff manages to scrounge us up some vittles, pulled pork, cabbage, potatoes, and cake. Of course the rest of the boys wanted to linger a bit since the staff is mostly female and seem to all be wearing short white shorts. I say let’s go, it’s gonna take an hour just to get off the farm onto the main road. Colonel agrees. He drives beautifully in the dark despite the one hitters. We do have some troubles with the motorcycle guy who keeps blocking the way at stoplights checking things in his seat or checking his texts. Speedy but accurate drive down 270 and on the inner loop and head down Georgia Ave. Colonel gets distracted only for a second, and almost misses a red light and slams on the brakes. At the next light he tells me we have no brakes. The brakes went out. With a van load of equipment. He’s mostly disappointed because he just had the brakes done a year ago. I’m thinking how are we going to make it through Silver Spring with all those traffic lights and no brakes. We still got at least 2 miles to go. Guess no Quarry House. At each light he downshifts, though it’s an automatic transmission. Brake pedal is going to the floor and barely doing anything. We pass major police activity at Colesville Rd. Colonel is huffing and puffing. And sweating. Somehow we make it to his house with no brakes and without hitting anything, most importantly my own car. I turned down his offer of a glass of Hornitos, and headed home myself. Of course the band guys next door have all the parking jacked up with their virginia plates and all the prime spots are gone. I start to carry my SWR Big Ben bass cabinet across the street and I see a youth on bike looking at me all sketchy like. He stops on the sidewalk and checks me out and keeps looking up and down the street. And we’ve had a lot of street robberies lately according to my Alert DC texts. I make it into the house with the cabinet, turn the porch light off, and go back outside with my pry bar. I stand on the porch looking at him and hitting my left hand with the pry bar repeatedly. He decides to peddle back up towards 2nd street and I am able to retrieve my bass and basshead out of the trunk. I decided it was best to smoke my last cigarette for the night out on the back deck.

Dirty Dinner at Calleva Farm

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