OUR BLOG CHRONICLES A MUSICAL JOURNEY

The basic story line
is, even though he never played guitar before and had not played a musical instrument since tuba in elementary school band, Bill T received an electric guitar in 2005 -- as a joke.  From then on, despite a musical talent deficit, he tried to learn instrumental surf music but at first could not find an instructor.  He met Paul the Pyronaut -- a surf guitarist a couple of generations younger.  Over a few years they wrote some original songs.  The Lava Pups eventually emerged from Bill T's imagination.  A CD was recorded to check something off of his bucket list.  Then the CD had to be performed live.  And -- voila -- we had a band!  The Lava Pups were a reality.  For how long, who knows?

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"I Saw a Little Daylight There" 

As Thursday night's practice concluded, we moved our gear near the Doghouse door.  Rush (the band) was right, “All this machinery making modern music.”  Amps.  Drums.  Hardware.  Guitars -- an extra just in case.  Bass.  Pedal board.  A bagful of cords and other paraphernalia.  Indeed, it was a bunch of machinery that had to go less than three miles across the Sacramento River to the “new” Shine.A Friday… Read more

The "New" Shine 

At 7:45 or so the last time the Pups played Shine, the then owner asked, “Are you going to have enough people here?”  That question was answered with a question, “Why?”  Her response was disheartening, “If you don’t have enough people, we’ll just close.”  The eternal optimist asked, “How many is enough?”  The answer meant we had no worry.  “Ten or so.”  No problem.Even though she always was nice to me, several musicians… Read more

Replaced by an iPhone Application 

How do we keep up with technology?  A Neo-Luddite might answer, “We should not.  We simply should refuse to embrace technology.”  A true Luddite might answer, “By destroying the damn machines.”  But that was not successful in the 19th Century; some Luddites were executed for destroying the damn machines.  Parliament made “machine breaking” a capital offense.Few folks these days can be either a… Read more

Airborne Yet? And Other Burning Questions 

Somebody recently asked, “How is that jumping thing going?”  As we all know, sometimes enthusiasm overwhelms common sense.  My knees can attest to that.  Today, they hurt.  The pain, in turn, raises the age-old question of whether overweight older folks are designed to jump?  We will leave to scientists, theologians, and politicians the debate as to exactly what is “age-old” and whether man is… Read more

Of Gold, Green, and the Growl 

We describe our music as garage or industrial surf.  But just what is that?  Maybe it is a bit like pornography; it cannot be described but you know it when your hear it.  We think of it as throaty with a twinge of a growl.  It sounds a smidge dirty with reverb, some slap echo, and tremolo or vibrato.  Occasionally overdriven.  Our music gives the sense of playing on the verge of falling into a vat of muck… Read more

Cliche? Blase? Everybody Is Entitled to an Opinion 

Day jobs and rock ‘n roll fantasies do not fold together as nicely as we sometimes like.  Demanding day jobs that we really enjoy can make the combination especially dicey.  Working every day for three weeks uses up what creativity and energy might be available for rock ‘n roll, blog posts, etc.  Tight, structured thinking and waves of projects do not allow for many free flow thoughts… Read more

Getting the Hook 

The Sound Guy’s voice came through the monitors.  “One more.”  Huh?  “You took a long time to set up.  You’re done!”  An ignominious end to a performance that began with no sound at the Blue Lamp.By the time that the Sound Guy put a halt to our set, I had overcome the heat, coffee, tacos, nervous energy, and embarrassment of overlooking a zeroed knob on the amp.  We started with Surf Rider because Robert needs a bit… Read more

Seasoned? Think Again, Buddy 

Just when you think that you are becoming a seasoned performer, something happens to bring you back to reality.  The other night at the Blue Lamp proved that I am far from seasoned.  Old and grizzled, maybe.  Seasoned, not at all.Yes, Saturday night tested my cool, and my cool lost.  We were second on the bill.  To paraphrase Phil Upchurch, I could not sit down.  We loaded in at 7:00 and stacked our… Read more

What Should a Sharp Dressed Man Wear to a Beach Party? 

Back in August, we quoted some from ZZ Top’s "Sharp Dressed Man."  Today, we quote a bit more:Clean shirt, new shoesAnd I don’t know where I am goin’ toSilk suit, black tie,I don’t need a reason whyUnlike ZZ Top's sharp dressed man, we have a reason why.  The January Beach Party is coming up this Saturday night at the Blue Lamp.  Three bands:  The Tiki Lounge Lizards, The… Read more

Where's the Pole? 

Saturday, January 25, we take the stage at the Blue Lamp.  We follow the Tiki Lounge Lizards to warm up the crowd for the Funicellos.  Mai Tais, Blue Hawaiians, and Madrases will help with the warm up.  Billed as a January Beach Party, folks are encouraged to dress for the beach regardless of the weather.A safe prediction is unseasonably warm and dry.  Governor Brown -- Jerry in his second incarnation -- declared a… Read more

Muggin' for the Camera Sans Sharkskin 

Does anybody remember back when all or most cameras had film?  Way back then -- yeah, back in the 1990s -- a photographer snapped a picture.  Then the film had to be developed.  From photo shoot to final result could be a matter of days.  Until the finished photo, you were left to wonder whether you truly caught what you thought you had.  “Instant” photos were available, but they were poor… Read more

Aloofly Aloft? No Way! 

The Wailers’ photo always had a certain classic, but noir, elegance to me.  Actually, when compared with other band photos and album covers of the day, it is not very artsy, provocative, or romantic.  It is just five guys and their instruments who look like they are having fun.Later today, the Lava Pups will gather at the Doghouse to work on one 2014 (sorta) “resolution” -- a photo shoot.  In an earlier post, it… Read more

More Janus and Happy New Year! 

Ahead.  Behind.  Forward.  Back.  Future.  Past.  In Roman mythology, Janus looked both ways.  During the front end of the month named for him, we have an opportunity to make lofty resolutions.  Experience teaches that most resolutions will be broken by February and forgotten by March.  That alone is a good reason never to write out resolutions.  Deniability generally is good.  Of course, in this day of… Read more

Janus, The Jam, and Jumping 

When you are young, jumping is natural.  It comes easily.  When you are carrying a bunch of extra weight on old legs, jumping no longer seems natural.  It certainly no longer comes easily.You may be thinking, “What?  Is he going to kvetch about old age and being overweight?”  The short answer is, “No.”The New Year is visible in the windshield.  Janus -- that’s right, as in JANU-ary -- was the Roman god of… Read more

Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame to Power Chord Inventor: Nope! 

How is this for a rock ‘n roll resume?  He is credited with inventing the power chord -- a staple of rock ‘n roll.  He was one of the first, if not the first, guitarists to use distortion -- a staple of much rock ‘n roll.  He had the first rock instrumental banned from radio airplay -- surely a sign of rock ‘n roll attitude.  He influenced Peter Townsend, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton,… Read more
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