Monday, February 23, 2015

Dynamic Duo

 One person I seem to be doing a lot of gigs with is bassist Rib Kollam. Yours truly, Roger U Roundly on guitar, and it looks like I'm comping for one of Rib's bass solos.
I don't use my real name in this blog, so I try and extend that same courtesy/anonymity to whoever I feature along with myself. Well, unless they're Kanye West or somebody..
 So here we are, yamming away at the now-defunct Centrum Cafe, where we had a nice run last Winter, for maybe 3 weeks in there. Rib looks perplexed about something in this shot.
 Another gig, this one an annual fund-raiser called Bassburg(as it features the area's high practitioners of the low frequencies). On this one, the dynamic duo is joined by drummer Mike Saunders. The picture of intensity. I look like I'm about to burst a blood vessel. Good thing Mike has a medical background. We might need it.
This one is a little more low-key. Rib and I are concentrating hard there. Looks like Mike is enjoying himself back there.
Finally this is us, Rog and Rib, in what's become our native habitat. Our monthly open-mic gig at Dr Ug's. To the uninitiated, Dr Ug's is a cafe-style restaurant in the heart of Virginia Illinois. They feature a variety of musicians a few nights every week as well as the infamous duo here. We've had this going for over a year now. 

I like playing gigs with Rib. We have a nice musical chemistry- he pulls a bit and I push, and between us we create a pretty good groove in there. And it usually follows that if you have a good musical rapport, you get on well when you're not playing. So it's a friendly climate.

And I'm sure more gigs will follow, either of the duo/trio variety or bigger groups. And more pictures of us middle-aged guys with weird expressions on our faces... 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

In Defense of Kanye- well,...

Many people misunderstood this photo when it made its way through the social networks. They saw it as yet another loud-mouthed celebrity getting payback from that already predatory animal we call the media.   
  Actually, I think the media would be better described as a Doberman Pinscher. It can be Your Buddy, but it can also turn on you in a second. I had a boss like that. He was even described in that way. Ten whole years. Wow. 
So the media excoriates poor Mr West, rips him to shreds just like his buddy Mr Doberman would've done(and with even less compunction). Turned him into the guy you love to hate. Clownye West. Kanye Twitty. And my favorite: Kim Kardashian's Ass! 

  And we just  love to see those folks getting theirs.(It fuels our own self-righteousness, don't you know..) Another self-absorbed(and self-proclaimed)artiste-  who for the umpteenth time has crossed that not-so-fine line between candor and Tourette Syndrome out in front of a whole bunch of people, thus disrupting said bunch of people and calling things to a screeching halt. 

So here he is, after shitting all over countless Hollywood events, finally getting his comeuppance, this time in the form of a Vulcan squeeze to the jugular. 

Or is he? My take on this is quite different. I contend that Mr Spock has returned from the future(or the past, however you want to see it)and is healing rather than hurting. He's massaging the brain-stem and basal ganglia of the rapper/genius and restoring Seratonin levels, thus preventing further outbursts. An old Vulcan home remedy. 

Aside from the recent vilification on Facebook(I already told you my favorite)-and, okay, the less recent picture juxtaposing  West and Jimi Hendrix as poser and Real Deal(with 'representative' statements from each), also on Facebook- which, after all was said and done, smacked of a kind of Goofus and Gallant moralism- I hadn't given much thought to Kanye West. 

I happened to catch SNL's highly-touted 40th Anniversary show the other night. Much of it I found disappointing, but I liked how they embraced Kanye West's recent controversy by making a sort of skit around it. Well that really was the move of necessity, otherwise you'd just have that huge elephant in the room, and it was packed enough as is. 

Which brings us to his performance. Having been demonized by the media, I was prepared to hate him. Anyone who's such a blowhard deserves to lose, right? Kanye West's number was creative and imaginative and musical. It was actually the most so of anything on the show. My second favorite musical moment. It didn't suck. 

Okay, maybe he is an asshole. Talent is bestowed upon them just like "nice" folks. You can be a real jerk and still be a fine performer. Unfortunately those two qualities are not mutually exclusive.  I didn't find him to be the creative genius he touts himself to be, but still- pretty damned good! Credit where credit is due.

Actually, the best musical moment on the show, to me, was Paul McCartney and Paul Simon doing an "impromptu" I've Just Seen a Face. Only a verse or so, but beautifully harmonized. Strangely enough, much better than their lengthier individual spots.

Short of that, the Kanye West number was the best thing I heard. 

I don't know if subsequent listens will yield the same result. Haven't been curious enough to find out. If I need to, I will. But what I heard seemed to work. I hope for his sake he doesn't continue to act like a doofus. Some people seem to get in their own way. Maybe Spock needs a recurring role here..