Archive for the ‘Body Count’ Category

And it did, too.  The Fainting Room (which included a Whiskeybelle) started a little past 8 PM.

Continuing the Milwaukee Music Summer, tonight was an album release party for the Wooldridge Brothers at local java joint Anodyne Coffee Roasters.

I have been a fan of these fellas since they moved their entire band from Indiana to Milwaukee to be part of the thriving music scene here in 1984, and they were called the Squares.  Of course, that scene fell apart, as did their band (although members of that band are still making music here) and Scott moved to Minneapolis.  But the brothers continued to work together, landing songs on TV shows and films, releasing fine albums.

A couple of years ago, they launched a Kickstarter project (since there’s no music industry anymore) to release two albums; a solo Scott Wooldridge album, and a Wooldridge Brothers band album.  I , of course, supported their efforts, and my support resulted in a producer credit in the liner notes, which is kind of exciting.

Scott’s solo album came out a while ago, and it is fine, in the same vein as their previous records, and it yielded this excellent song:

But they decided to take the band album in a bit different direction.  They took their time and pushed the production levels up, as well as bringing Brian Wooldridge’s guitar solos well forward in the mix, providing an energy and attack that had not been there before.  In addition, their influences -Elvis Costello, Squeeze, the Kinks- are laid more bare than usual.  The result is, frankly, quite startling.

One of the things they did when they realized their schedule was slipping, was create a video for one of the songs, a bittersweet song called “Drive Through Summer” which they recorded in a drive-in theater.  After they filmed it, they realized that the drive-through would provide, if not a concept album, a tone and feeling throughout the album; so they named it Starts At Dusk.  What an evocative name….

We chatted with the Brothers briefly before the show, talking about the new album, other Milwaukee musicians, the show in Minneapolis, and summer family vacation plans.  I had received the album a week prior, as I was a Kickstarter Producer (along with a couple of rare discs of covers and demos) and it was already making quite a mark on me.  Particular standouts are “Waiting It Out” (excellent guitar work by Brian) and “Zero Information” ( think Graham Parker).  It is not to be released online until September; until then it is SOLELY available at Milwaukee Anodyne coffee shops, because there are no record stores anymore.

The show was simply amazing, we were sitting right up front.

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That is actually the Wooldridge Brothers and a Sister-in-Law.  They played almost all the new album too, and we loved it.  It was maybe too short; a tight 90 minutes or so.

Other than the record release, they are mostly relieved to have a project finished and will be focusing on other things for a while, so this may be a rare appearance -although if you live in Minneapolis, Scott plays out relatively often.  In an interview, they said that they hope to be more active in 2018, but until then, there is this absolutely outstanding new album to enjoy.

Up next:  Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls and a guy from Stiff Little Fingers.  IN this place:

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This may not be a huge urban enclave, but MAN we have a great music scene.  Yes, yes Big Bastard, if you cut me, do I not bleed music?

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Some of you may remember, that in between sporadic posting, drunken benders, and arguing incessantly with mikey, I occasionally perform professional architectural services.  One of which is doing a facade inspection on buildings five stories or greater, which almost always involved boom lifts or swing stages, and these efforts often result in amusing anecdotes involving petrifying fear of heights. HA!  HA!  Fear is funny, says the Firesign Theatre….

Well, I haven’t had to do that in a while; I decided that my Fear Billing Rate is equal to my highest billing rate, and on top of equipment rental that makes my fees to do these things fall at the higher end of the spectrum.  Don’t miss it, although I never minded cashing the checks.

So anyways, one of my current engagements is to provide professional consultation for a wall failure on a 6th floor penthouse addition to an older building, where the original contractor is out of business and the track of culpability is not able to be established, yet the wall needs to be repaired and rebuilt.  We’ve tracked the cause of the failure, and as we disassemble the walls, the internal evidence supports our hypothesis, so the repairs we are specifying are appropriate.

And last week, I was called to the site to review some conditions that exhibit a bit more deterioration than we’ve seen, and the contractor wanted to get my review.  The residents of the penthouse floor were not available to obtain access through their units, so we had no choice but to use the boom lift to access the sixth floor, roughly 70 feet above street level.  I geared up in a harness, explained to the Operator that I was not a fan of aerial work, and up we went….

As we rode the bucket, we chatted.  Operator told me that the building developer was pretty tense going up, I told about having a boom trip the overbalance breaker once, and as we went higher and higher, I was glancing out at the roads, and to the East the Summerfest grounds; and I became aware that my hands were not white-knuckling the railing. 

When we got to the sixth floor, I clambered out of the bucket onto the roof, and we spent the rest of our time walking back and forth along the roof, looking at the exposed structure and level of deterioration, and discussing various potential remedies.  Climbed back into the bucket, and rode down….

When we landed, and I unbuckled my harness, I reflected on what just happened.

Every prior time I was doing aerial work, my fear of heights triggered, and I was terribly uncomfortable.  Sometimes, just walking out onto an elevated balcony (one I had designed!) was enough, and there was a full height railing.  Glass walkways could trigger it.

Best I can figure, is that after The Event a couple of years ago, I now have a different frame of reference for existential Fear.

Riding a bucket to 70 feet or so, while wearing safety gear and with a trained operator pales in comparison to sitting in an Emergency Room with a half dozen medical professionals trying to keep me alive while it becomes more and more difficult to breathe.

I guess there’s no moral to this, unless it’s that you can cure acrophobia by having a heart attack, which seems like kind of a stretch if not a kind of unadvised attempt at a cure.

Have I ever talked about my educational background?  I have what may be called a checkered past, maybe…..(scenes from a zombie’s school background):

  • I never passed an art or industrial arts class with anything less than an A
  • I took 4 1/2 years of math in high school.
  • I only passed college chemistry because I rode the coattails of a guy in the dorm room next to mine.
  • I took way more English than I ever needed in both high school and college, including a literature course in science fiction.
  • I had to request an academic probation in college rather than just abrupt dismissal.
  • In high school, my counselor looked at my transcript and was completely confuzzled, throwing his hands up.  I told him I was already working as a professional draftsman in a local engineering firm, so he said “sounds good to me!” and threw me out.
  • My father insisted I go to college (mainly due to the fact that he declined an opportunity to go himself because of a local antipathy to college boys) and I have thanked him for it ever since, believe me…
  • Because I didn’t plan on going to college, I hadn’t done the preparatory research, taken the good tests, or made applications.  So it was a matter of which colleges had majors that seemed like a good fit, had entry requirements I could meet, and available space (and also, which ones were out of town, so I could move the hell out).  And at that point, Wisconsin still believed in the value of affordable State colleges, so there was one or two that fit that definition (this becomes important almost immediately).
  • After all that, I graduated from SARUP undergrad and grad school, with two separate special studios at the high level of Master’s.
  • I have been invited back to the school as a participant in design efforts, student reviews, and special presentations.

Land Grant Colleges are an important and amazing idea in the history of our country.  They provided high level educational opportunities to people from moderate means across the country, and most of them, especially the University of Wisconsin (which was further supported by the incorporation of the Wisconsin Idea, which pledged the use of the resources of the college campuses to further and develop ideas in support of the public good. In recent years, the Dean of the Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning has been exemplary in using the talent in his school to foster free exchange of fresh ideas and progressive ideas.  It is no random happenstance that since he took Deanership, we have seen Milwaukee out perform the economic development of every other area in Wisconsin, and we have seen things like expansion of public transit, improvement of sustainability, development of spectacular puck amenities like the Children’s Museum, the Calatrava museum addition, expansion of Summerfest, continued development of the Riverwalk, making Milwaukee one of the best bicycle cities in the Midwest, and on and on.

So I find this a bit personal.

Turdwaffle , following on his ALEC-ordered attack on unions with Act 10, followed up by trying to avoid the huge public outcry and do this on the down low:  removing mentions of the Wisconsin Idea from his budget;  obviously the first step to removing it from all public documentation altogether.  This was in 2015.  It was of course, done, because he has a compliant Republican Lege, who fall in line like a bunch of big, stupid dominoes.

So now, Our Governor Fucknuckle has decided that the best thing for one of the highest regarded research and publicly oriented college system in the country now needs to be more oriented toward making it a fancy-pants technical school providing drink workers for the rich and wealthy.

Oh, am I being hyperbolic?  Here:

Walker wants UW campuses to compete for $42.5 million in new funding based on graduation rates, average time to degree, percentage of graduates who get jobs, and how many of them work in high-demand fields in Wisconsin, among other measures.

So these colleges, acclaimed worldwide and also offering amazing opportunities to people who might not otherwise have them, now have to go cutthroat about how many of their students get placed with work farms that are acceptable to the Wisconsin Government Corporate Masters.

So yeah, I feel this is a bit personal.  The existence of the UW system allowed me to go to college in a way that was not high-stress and was still access to an amazing education that opened up my fucking world.  And Turdwaffle says “let’s try to fuck this over!” because he is a dim, small-minded, Republican knee-walking shit-sniffing obsequious complete fucknuckle.

It’s not a Friday, but here you go:

 

Go Fuck Yourself Also Too

 

That’s Milwaukee punk Irish stalwarts Whiskey Of The Damned, a personal favorite and currently touring the fuck out of the planet, doing something like 200 gigs a year. Their shows are sweaty, fervent, whiskey drenched and nothing but fun.  Eoin, the singer, is sone of an Irish musician who decided to move to Milwaukee because it was nicknamed Brew City.  Eoin plays in his Da’s band and feels like it is too slow; his Da thinks Eoin plays too loud and too fast and is damaging his listener’s brains.  It is also Irish Fest this weekend….

It is always Another Day Dead at the Empire, but here in Milwaukee the Apocalypse was the course of the day as the Vulgar Talking Yam stopped in to dance on the still-smoking embers of a long-festering chancre on the social pact.

I recently saw an analysis that indicates during Turdwaffle’s tenure in public office (nearly all his life!) he has reduced public transportation into and out of Milwaukee, and within Milwaukee, to the extent that Milwaukee residents lost access to 30,000 jobs.  Combine that with the Targo debacle, and is there any wonder that the black community is ready to explode?  Especially combined with the abuse by the police?

Yeah, yeah, you will hear that the murdered person had a gun and ran from the police. But he hadn’t done anything wrong, and Walker’s ALEC-goons had made carrying a gun a right in almost any venue.  Yeah, he had a record.  But when black men will be gunned down WHILE SURRENDERING, or killed in custody, how is that even a reasonable indictment?

What you will not hear, is the massive turnout of all Milwaukeeans into the area to help clean up.  Heck, a bunch of barbers set up in a park to give free haircuts.  Gwen Moore has been walking white politicians and reporters through the area for days, explaining how it is a vibrant part of Milwaukee.  Hell, Springsteen’s 1975 Bomb Scare Show was in the neighborhood.

So, Fucking Trump.  First of all, let me say that I do not think of Trump as an anomaly. He is the pure, undiluted id of the Republican Party since the Southern Strategy made racism a permanent part of their genetic makeup.  He is only surprising to Beltway Pundits who have been pretending for decades that BOTH SIDES.

So of course Hair Furor  stopped by to gloat and trot out the Lawn Order speech.

While flanked by Turdwaffle and insane fake-cowboy Milwaukee County Shirriff & Just For Men Beard customer Clarke, he apparently stayed at downtown Pfizer Hotel, but traveled about an hour northwest (at least 40 miles from the areas of actual unrest) to West Bend – a community in which I’ve done work, mind you — (and which you might remember seeing on appliances, back when we actually made things here in America, before people like Trump and Romney sold them off for scrap and/or moved the jobs to third world countries with no labor laws and no environmental safeguards)…

Ahem.  Anyway, so he stood up there with two Wisconsin political grandstanding assnuggets, and addressed a completely white crowd (most of which are terrified of actually going to Milwaukee) and took to whitesplaining to black people on why they should vote for him.

It was kind of astonishing in its cluelessness.  

The most obvious thing is how he considers African Americans to be completely stupid.  They have a very good idea who has their concerns more in mind, and are fully goddam aware that is is not the Republican Party, and even less Donald Trump.

This was a speech directed entirely at suburban white folks.

People who feel uncomfortable with the racist demagoguery on display, and are perfectly comfortable with black folks in service jobs, but feel like saying “I have a black friend” inoculates them.  But are still racist as fuck, and when a black family moves int the neighborhood, are alarmed.  My own damn parents are this cohort.

But it was intended to make borderline white folks feel more comfortable with TrumpVoting, because “he’s obviously not that racist, remember when he blamed the liberals for black rioting?”

Yes, he is a fucking racist, he learned it from his father.  Both of them lost lawsuits for racist rental policies.  He is a failure at business; his biggest success has been being able to create a pyramid scheme to keep his lifestyle afloat while his ventures fail one after the other.  he hates you and me, he hates good taste, and he hates the people who build his tasteless crap because they can do something he can’t.  He is insecure and self-loathing, and he directs that outward.  I am coming around to the idea that his head is not so good, as his non-teleprompter shouts are increasingly deranged and disassociated from reality.  Of course, as a rich fuck-snorkel, he has been disconnected from reality for his entire life.

Yeah, so no news here.  But fuck I hate the fact that he came to Milwaukee (or Milwaukee-adjacent) to try to make hay over the problems we have that have been simmering for decades (and which I have documented, mostly from an architectural / urban planning aspect).

Elect Hillary.  Fuck this clown.  Fuck the Republican Party, who nominated this clown.

 

Sunday, nightfall.  It’s been a strange week, and the festival the week before took all the weirdos and freaks out of circulation for a fair amount of time, which made my life easier.  because, of course, I was one of those weirdos and freaks.

It’s not as if I can expect that sultry woman with available cash and a questionable task.  I am, after all, an Architect.

But I do have a large bottle of brown goods to keep me company, and a bit of work to keep me occupied.

And I have a large outstanding bill, enough to buy me a new Lexus, from a formerly good client.  So, I will be debating the need to send large, unreasonable people to his place for resolution.  Or opting for more civilized solutions.  Because, the large uncivilized person will be me, when I decide to no longer be polite (to be honest, the client is like 14 inches shorter than me).

Complicating this, as it always will, is that Client is also my Landlord.  We have done bartering of my fees for rent for quite some time, and I am still WAY ahead.  But as I have reported, he is upset with my performance on a prior project; and rather than going the proper route to tap my E&O insurance, he seems to be withholding my fees on other projects.  Notably, the fees are for an unrelated project.

SINCE GODDAM FEBRUARY.

That, of course, is not how this works.

So, I either need to find a smoky hot Noir Babe to deliver my demands to him, a direct phone call, or filing liens on his office, home, Range Rover and perhaps one of his children.

This has required me to terminate my associate, so I am back to solo.  Which is fine;  I am better at this fucking crap that most people I know.   What I am NOT good at is doing it in a larger more corporate environment.

So, it’s time to hit the Office Rum, re-watch a little Breaking Bad, and try to understand how to salvage a damaged professional relationship, or failing that, turn it into a giant flaming devastating holocaust.

 

That title was kind of a gimme, am I right?

But Sinead O’Connor’s cover of that song revealed what a stellar songwriter Prince Rogers Nelson was.

Look, I am a white suburban kid; my music inputs ranged from hard rock to basic rock to classic rock.  However, once my brain had been opened up by the punk and the new wave, and then my circle of friends was expanded by going to college, I was open to new sounds and ideas…

And the idea of this Prince guy was probably sent into my brain by some stupid rock music article.  But when I had a few extra Ameros, visiting the local Over-sized Supermarket in a poor cow-town college town, they had 2 (TWO!) copies of “1999” and I bought one.  I really wonder who bought the other (although I know the store may have sent it back).  It was a white boy, barf ‘n’ boogie environment, and new wave funk really did not fit in….but in one house, it did. It fit in between REM and the Thompson Twins and Elvis Costello and the B-52s and Boomtown Rats and Wall of Voodoo and U2 and so many others….my musical mind had been blown wide open….

I have been able to see two different shows at First Avenue.  One was an epochal show from Soul Asylum with one of my personal favorites the Figgs opening, and I got ROARING drunk; the other was a tribute to Big Star’s Third album, which featured many Milwaukee musicians and where I got paleo as drunk as I was the previous time,  Both times, I simply reveled in being in a legendary dive….

I moved to Milwaukee. The music scene was blowing up.  Femmes,  R&B Cadets, Jim Liban, EIEIO, Snopek ….and I was going to college.  But I had some connection to a dick that was booking for the college, and he needed to provide some big dudes to hump cases.  We did.  Art of Noise, Bruce Cockburn, Iggy Pop….

But none of that matters.  I spent much time in and around music, local and touring.  Even though I sold my Les Paul to stay in college, I stayed involved, and still go see bands often (the Big Gig is upcoming!) Music has  been a huge part of my life, stretching all the way back to when I bought my first record player.

Prince was great from the first time I ever heard him, playing that copy of “1999” for bemused room-mates.

Prince has created genius-level music.

Prince demolished the ideas of gender.  He performed while wearing feminine clothes, and had lesbians in his band.

Prince demolished the idea of genre.  I defy good friend Zelmo to tell me what pigeonhole Prince belongs in.

Prince did “Starfish and Coffee” on the muppet show.

Prince told a corporate music shitheads to fuck off, by changing his name.  Then he continued to flip them off by performing under a different name….

Prince once offered a song to the Violent Femmes, which they declined as too sexual…

Prince was kind to Paul Westerberg.  Prince intimidated Bob Mould to the point he never worked up the nerve to talk to him.

Prince did  whatever the fuck he wanted, when he wanted to.  He was the most talented person I have seen in my lifetime, and the had, as far as I can tell, the most integrity.

Prince continued to support the local music scene, at every level. in a notable reference, Field Report says he came out to see them play….

I have a FaceHell friend who posted wondering why we spend so much time and effort when famous people die.  But it’s not like a Kardashian, or Reagan;  Prince accomplished much, and hardly ever compromised, and opened up spaces for people to be weird in their own way, to define themselves in their own way.  It isn’t unrelated that at those times, I pierced my ears (3 times), and cut my hair short, and grew it long, and colored it blond and red and wore stupid clothes with red Converse high-tops.  The answer to your question, Peter, is not that we idolize these people (although we might!) but that the things they did moved us and were important to us and they seemed like friends, because like friends, their work supported us and kept us going when times were hard.  Losing them is hard, because now we have to face life without their help, and use our own meager talents to keep up their legacy and their work, and we fear we are not worthy.  And we will miss, painfully miss, all the work they could have done in the future.

I will miss that I never took advantage of the opportunity to see him play.  Friends, go see a band you like right now, because there is no guarantee that you will ever see them again; it’s why I survived a heart attack a year ago so I could see the Mekons play in Mineral Point; there are no damn guarantees.

I DO yammer on, don’t I?  So here is my finale.  I  like Prince and have loved him, and he is much respectable as a musician and artist in every way.  It is perfectly fitting that landmarks around the world were illuminated Purple.

We didn’t deserve him in the first place, and we are so much the poorer for losing him.

Also, and I have linked this elsewhere, but do you want more proof of his genius?

 

 

At the end, he turns and as much as says “that’s all I have to say about THAT” and not having a mic to drop, drops his guitar into the audience.  As I have said many times, looking sadly down at the sausages at the end of my hands….”why can’t  you guys do that?”  He taught himself…

Prince taught me a way to love funk, hip-hop and R&B,  made me love  musicians that are so talented they can cross every genre, and to love people who are genuinely and honestly weird….

You have been a man who changed my life….Imma miss you Prince.  But the rest of us, we’re not through yet….

That’s the best I can do.  Sorry, man….

EDIT.   With the other shit that 2016 is raining down, I just loved the:

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Bunch of Wisconsin musicians did a 16 track anti-Turdwaffle album.  Please to be enjoying my favorite track even if it is my favorite just because of the title, “Scott Walker you’re a piece of shit”:

It is great and timely and angry, as good punk/folk music should be.  Download it here:

Listen to the entire 16-track “Unintimidated: Wisconsin Musicians Against Scott Walker” comp

listen to talented Wisconsinites who despise Turdwaffle like I do, and sing about it.  And if you pay for it, the money goes to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, which has been cut off by Turdwaffle’s shit show.  So even if you don’t like the music, blow some money….

Meanwhile, be comfortable knowing that the two major cities in Wisconsin, Madison and Milwaukee, being run by Democrats, are outperforming the rest of the state and artificially allowing Spithead Walker to claim better economic numbers than are real.  fuck him with a big Fuckzall.  No lube, you asshole.

 

serious as all hell, I went to the install place today and  signed up for replacement of my blown-out car speakers and then upgraded to a new stereo that has USB and bluetooth.  Because fuck this, but when I want to hear loud shit in my car, I need to hear LOUD SHIT IN MY CAR….