Saturday, June 23, 2007

Loude Sing Cuckoo

Birthday greeting from Nulsh | Click to enlarge

Beautiful blue sunny skies abounding this Saturday morning over the West Village, sorry I've been so remiss lately in writing this blog but have had very little time of late (I AM A WORKAHOLIC), lessee...well, overall it's been a week of pretty good news despite pang of momentary birthday blues on Wed. June 20th (if only for a moment--it was all gravy that evening at Cafe Loup, surrounded by a circle of 10 dear friends Kenny Hurwitz, Bob Strano, Ernie Brooks and his wife Delphine, Shaista and Gus and Sarah Husain, and Richard Porton) (yep, was born on the last day of spring--which may well account for my eternal sense of optimism)...the new Wild Rumpus 12 inch single with DJ Cosmo is sold-out everywhere, Cosmo is re-pressing it as we speak, and we got a lovely 4 star review in Time Out New York this week (but why wait for the re-press?--you can go right now to the Itunes "99 cents store", plug 'Wild Rumpus' into the Power Search engine (or just click here), and within a matter of seconds experience Rub 'n Tug's re-mix of "Musical Blaze-Up" in all its "epic, hoedown-in space" glory (so sayeth TONY) in the privacy of your own home--if not your mind!) ... my friend Chris Cornell's new album--and what a diverse and beautiful record it is, I am really honored to have worked on this--just went into the Billboard charts at no. 17 ...and last but not least, a compilation of some of the best songs of my friend and collaborator Jeff Buckley is out to remind the world once again what an utterly unique and gifted artist he was...

Reasons to be cheerful part two: went to a party at the lush panelled environs of Rizzolli Books (one of my favorite NYC hangs, which still retains its flavor of old-world opulence after their move from 5th ave. a while ago) on Tuesday June 12th for Playboy's new Shel Silverstein compilation "Silverstein Around the World", a collection of his travel drawings and cartoons which my pal Mitch Myers edited and wrote the intro for (Mitch is Shel's nephew)...Shel was a true renaissance man, from his bestselling children's books such as "Light in the Attic" to great songs like "A Boy Named Sue" for Johnny Cash and "The Unicorn" for the Irish Rovers, and I always loved his Playboy cartoons ( my Dad got me a subscription around the time of my bar-mitzvah--I only read it for the articles, honest!) (cue "Pictures of Lily" here), and now they're all in one book...Mitch gave a nice appreciation of his uncle, I met some of the cool Playboy editors and artists, Christie Hefner was there and looking splendid, and noshed on the richest, best damn cookies and cakes I've ever had the pleasure to encounter at a press party, pure sybaritic decadence (well it WAS Playboy, after all!)...

then, made it on foot in a driving rain down 5th to the legendary Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center to meet Caroline for the Spirit of Anne Frank Awards (June 12th was Anne Frank's birthday)-- one of which was being given to our friend Margarit Polak's dad Jaap Polak, whose book "Steal a Pencil for Me" (Lion Press), which contained his love letters to his wife from Bergen-Belsen and Westerbork, is an amazing document. Had a really nice reunion with Margarit's husband Harvey Shield, a British ex-pat who leads a fantastic a capella doo-wop group based in LA known as The Mighty Echoes (Jon Rubin of The Rubinoos is also in the fold)--Harvey was the drummer in the legendary UK 60's psych band Episode Six along with Roger Glover and Ian Gillan, later of Deep Purple, and is a very funny and engaging guy...a couple days later Harvey generously sent me mp3's of 2 prized and hard to find doo-wop classics, The Velvetones' 1957 single "Glory of Love" (which contains the unintentionally hilarious spoken-word section where the lead singer hectors his no-account girl-friend with a monologue wherein he declares "I hold in my hand dear 3 letters from the stages of your fine, fine, superfine career", a line later incorporated into Frank Zappa's Ruben and the Jets parody "Later That Night")--and also Vernon Green and the Medallions' awesome "The Letter" which includes the leader's adolescent starry-eyed ramble in the middle containing the lines "let me whisper sweet words of 'pismatology/ and discuss the puppetuse of love"--later misheard by Steve Miller as "the pompatus of love" and used for a line in his song "The Joker", which later became the title of a film) (and let us not forget, also the inspiration for a song 'o mine on my "Evangeline" album, entitled "Apismatisin' "...)...

Last Saturday afternoon Caroline and I went up to Central Park to catch Television's rare reunion set...sadly, Richard Lloyd was down with pneumonia...but Tom played great as did Fred, and of course, Billy glued the whole thing together with his amazing drumming (wait till you hear him on the new Gods and Monsters live dvd/cd, which Jerry Harrison and ET Thorngren just finished mixing...looks like release is being delaying now to early next year...but hell, come and hear us live when we resume shows again in September!)...

Monday night I went over to my neighbor Bruce Kingsley's pad to watch "Hukkle", the visionary 2002 Hungarian art-film by Gyorgy Palfi which manages to instill a sense of dread and foreboding with almost no dialogue, just exquisite close-up vignettes of seemingly placid and normal rural village country life, intense closeups of flora, fauna, food preparation, natural processes both human and industrial--and a hiccupping, or rather hukkling, old man as the recurring mute (except for his rhythm borborygms) link threading all the disparate sequences together--basically the struggle for survival along a food-chain out of balance--nature red/read in tooth and claw--very David Lynchian, very unsettling, basically a meta-murder mystery whose secret is but hinted at and which may or may not have been revealed at the end...Bruce is an online film critic for the society for independent film, and has been holding weekly viewing and film discussion sessions in my building for friends and neighbors--a great idea...Ahhh'll be back...

Tuesday I met my friend the Irish animation whiz and rock photographer Siobhan "Shivers" Mullen and her boyfriend at Comix on West 14th street to catch a set by my friend Ed Hammell, a/k/a Hammell on Trial, who is doing a weekly monday residency there which you should definitely try and catch if you're in the city this month--Ed is a great and unique solo artist/acoustic punk singer/songwriter/ guitar thrasher from my hometown of Syracuse originally who really rocks with very witty and quirky and near-blasphemous songs from the heart about all sorts of things, he's developing a new one-man show entitled "The Terrorism of Everyday Life" (kind of the theme of " Hukkle", come to think of it) which he'll debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this summer...

and on Thursday night Summer Solstice it was Fete de la Musique here and all over the world, originally a French phenomenon and now a global music festival, and in the company of my pal Robert Singerman from the French Music Export Office I went first to L'Orange Bleu bistro at Broome and Crosby with Caroline for a meal (great food!) and met the great French guitarist Sylvain Luc, also a smiling and gracious Jack Lang, the former Minister of Culture under Mitterand, was going to jam with Sylvain but not enough time alas (I hope next time) and then were off in another driving rainstorm to the Highline Ballroom to catch Ayo's debut headlining performance in New York, Ayo is a stunning statuesque German-born female singer/songwriter of Nigerian descent who lives in Paris, and she had a crack band behind her featuring my friend Larry Campbell on guitar and violin--very enjoyable, very soulful, in a kind of jazz/funk Sade-esque confessional mode, she really got the full house going by the end of her set when she jumped on a table out in the audience...afterwards I met Jean-Phillpe Allard who is the head of Universal France, a very nice guy who really made my night by telling me how much he liked my new acoustic song "Little Blue" which I wrote with the ravishing Melissa Mars, another great new French Universal artist--our song closes Melissa's new album "A la recherche de l'amour perdu" (yo Proust!) which is out mid-September...check out melissamars. com, her new album is a sweet and seductive killer (the way I like it)...

and it's just too damn nice a day to write anymore,

for sumer is icumen in (first song written in anglais, circa 1250)




Blogger munchhausen said...

Hi Gary
is it always like that In New York: every time you go somewhere, you meet important people ( some Hefner, some Cornell..), or is this true just for you?

No, seriously, it must be a really good place o live.

Congratulations for the work with Cornell, it's really good music ( for the one with Jeff, i think no billboard chart can quantify the pleasure of hearing it )

P.S: Thanks for the music you post in your site, especially for "Don't Let the Bastards Wear You Down". It is one of those "Good songs for Bad periods", and it helps a lot to change your mood ( obviously that's one of the best things music can do ). The citations of Smoke on the Water, included in it were just a way to make it even funnier?

6/26/2007 6:03 PM  
Blogger Gary Lucas said...

yep, I love New York!

Yes I love the music on Chris' new album--he's such a good songwriter!

Glad you liked "Don't Let the Bastards Wear You Down"! In fact, I was quoting from the Stones' "Satisfaction" in it, not "Smoke on the Water" (but I dig Deep Purple too).

yr pal


6/27/2007 12:32 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pirates of the Carob Bean

Wotta bummah--after arranging an appropriately Sopranos' moment with a pre-final-episode chow-down last night at Lombardi's in Little Italy (Best pizza in NYC, coal oven baked thin-crust--though maybe not quite as good as Pepe's in New Haven) and an aperitif de poudine du riz across Spring Street at Rice to Riches (good title for the Condoleeza story after she pens the obligatoire memoire)-- where we (Caroline, my man from Cannes Richard Porton, and "Husain in the membrane" Pakistani sister act lovely Shaista and Sarah) were gifted by a curbside stop-and-chat from my artist sister Bonnie, who's lived in the 5 story tenement walkup next door for oh about 27 years now ( for artists only--Nora York lives there too--2 tiny rooms, bathtub in the kitchen, easel in the loft-bedded boudoir, and a rent controlled steal at $225 a month), after this feast of the tv-tabernacle "The Sopranos" endgame delivered a damp squib (Tony ordering onion rings in a diner with his happy family in town) instead of the apocalyptic flame-out required for due diligence/obeisance paid to the tragicomic verities...

And actually--what else could one expect? What with the omni-present bottom line factor weighing heavily on all and sundry in this corner of the universe... makes absolute sense to leave the door open (happy bourgeois Tony Carmela and kids alive and well and living in northern New Jersey, also popular crowd favorite/stage villain Paulie Walnuts, whose confuse-a-cat antics last night vis a vis the stray who came to stay obsessed with the portrait of Christopher hanging in the Bing were the best thing about this very, very anti-climactic, supposed "last episode"--that and the usage of The Noisettes' "Scratch Your Name (Into the Fabric of This World)" after Phil Leotardo got whacked and the heat was off for the mo' and things got downright celebratory/back to normal/bidness as usual)--wide, wide open for the possibility of resumption of the franchise in a year or 2 when Chase and co. need a (stage) blood (money) transfusion again, good business acumen to keep the core principals alive alive, oh! (out of that old gang of mine, only Sopranos crew member Bobby Baccala, a buffoonish bit player really bit it after Christopher's untimely literal snuffing by Tony a couple episodes back)... would say there is a more than distinct possibility of Sylvio Dante (and what's in a name?) recovering from his coma just in time for the mandatory revival eruption into feature film or 4 part expanded "special" mini-series a couple years down the line (worked for Conan Doyle, who brought Sherlock Holmes back to life 3 years later after his apparently mortal tumble/tussle down the Reichenbach Falls with Moriarty in 1981's "The Adventure of the Final Problem" ...but of course pressure from the fans/Conan Doyle's bank manager mandated a return, and thus many years on, after having met a watery despatch by Watson's own eye-witness account, Holmes returned, fit as a, uh.. as the fiddle he liked to fiddle-faddle upon, having miraculously survived his over-the-falls-without-a barrel experience...but as it was famously remarked at the time, "he was never quite the same man again")...same might well hold true for The Sopranos...whatever, you can bet that I'll be watching :-)

Oh well...sequels usually roll on the inevitable downhill gradient with occasional rare exceptions (such as the marvelous first "Pirates of the Caribbean--Curse of the Black Pearl" ...followed by the dross of "Deadman's Chest" (Pyrite of the Caribbean) ...and now, happily reversing a trend, followed by the much more entertaining "At World's End" (the noise, my dear, and the people-- and those special effects! the little live action monkey--first cousin to Zippy the chimp, a/k/a Harry Speakup from the classic Bilko episode "The Court Martial", available now on DVD, getitgetitgetit-- steals the show here, as do the supernumeraries like the ocularly-challenged guy from "The Office", UK division)...haven't seen "Ocean's 13" yet, but I did like "Ocean's 12" a heck of alot more than #11, stay tuned...

Just back from London and it was a joy... shimmering spring weather graced a party on my pal Adrian's houseboat at Cheyne Walk on the first night Caroline and I arrived, thanks to my friend Yuliana Galitskaya who arranged it all, great convivial vibe with her friends Vivian and Pablo and Sam and a wonderful Irish fiddle player who stomped his foot and reeled off infectious Celtic throwdowns after dinner on the deck and I jammed on guitar with her Venezuelan friend Luz a wonderful dark Latina torch singer as the blue moon rose over the Thames...

Rave review of the new Wild Rumpus 12 inch single "Musical Blaze-Up" from UK dance magazine One Week to Live | Click to enlarge

Meanwhile the new Wild Rumpus 12 inch single (me and DJ Cosmo, a/k/a my old comrade in arms Colleen Murphy) called "Musical Blaze-Up" is getting rave reviews over there and is selling briskly (in its second pressing already, and it's already sold-out on import at Rebel Rebel down Bleecker Street here--and you can download it now from Itunes... soon I'll have an order link for the vinyl slab for all you fetischistes du plastique) and we had a great live gig with percussionist Ben Mitchell (who played with us in India last summer) at Cargo out in the eastend in the fabulous trendy Shoreditch section, where Damien Hirst's new 500 million pound (oh wow) jewel encrusted skull is on display at the White Cube Gallery (personally I prefer the plain old freshly dug-up besodded skull of Yorick...or, on the cranial-bling front, the bejewelled Aztec skull mask in the 1961 3D Julian Roffman directed Canadian shocker "The Mask", no relation to the Jim Carrey film of the same name)...and Colleen and I went into the studio near Crouch End to lay down some tracks for new singles for release over the next year through her Bitches Brew label...we're playing next live at the Klinkende Munt Free festival in Brussels on July 7th at the mammoth old Belgian art fortress the Beurrschouwburg, hope to see you there...

Preview of Gary's new electronica project Wild Rumpus live in London | Click to enlarge

My solo gig at Luminaire a few nights later was really fun, I got to bring my friend the wonderful British-Asian singer Najma Akhtar on stage to sing with me during "Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro"--you may know her from her many solo albums (one of them, "Atish" on Shanachie, really helped raise my spirits during a very dark period in my life) and her work with Page and Plant (providing the female voice on their recasting of their Led Zeppellin IV anthem "The Battle of Evermore", originally sung by the late Sandy Denny, another heroine of mine), Andy Summers, and Jah Wobble--anyway, she is simply a fantastic vocalist and presence on stage, and I hope to make more music with her in the future...originally of Indian descent (she had a whole program devoted to her life story recently on the BBC's "Faces of Islam" television series), Najma just returned with her band from Pakistan where she had several successful concerts, and where a new song of hers was selected to be the official theme of the National Bank of Pakistan...meanwhile check out her work at

my guy British musical journalist supreme Mike Barnes was there at Luminaire as well, also lovely BBC producer and Magic Band enabler Elaine Sheperd...also Pawel Potorczyn, now heading up the Polish Cultural Office in London where he's doing great things, after many years in NYC...also Desiree Densitti, a striking and vivacious young Anglo-Turkish actress and friend of Richard Porton's whom Caroline and I had lunched with at the Arts Club in Dover Street that very day...and also the Cheyne Walk (the plank) (press) gang of Yuliana and Vivian and Luz and Sam were there, in very larger than life spirit...also Max Cross and Fred Barnes from my beloved Side Salad label who issued "Coming Clean" in the UK (good ears these 2, having signed the Noisettes back in the day), also Bernard MacMahon from Lomax Records, who put out my "Songs to No One" album of early work with Jeff Buckley back in 2002 on his Circus label in the UK... as well as Soname Yangchen, a lovely Tibetan singer and author of the bestseller "Child of Tibet", and her guy Jan--Soname recently sang in Berlin at a Free Tibet rally accompanied by fellow Syracusean Richard Gehr on piano, she's also been recording with ace Jeff Buckley percussionist Matt Johnson...I jammed at the end with a great bunch of UK free-jazz virtuosos, percusssionist Steve Noble, saxophonist Alan Wilkinson and bassist John Edwards--they were amazing in their own opening set, and together at the end of my set we really kicked it into the nether regions of (to quote Lord Buckley) the flip-o-sphere the hip-o-sphere the gone-o-sphere and the way-gone-o-sphere...

Now I'm out-o-here...



ps so good to see that "Journey's End" won a Tony last night for Best Revival, Caroline and I went to see this hallowed anti-war play (with ever so contemporary resonance) by R.C. Sherriff last Saturday night at the haunted Belasco Theater on West 44th Street, right next to our (and Andrew Loog Oldham's) beloved Un Deux Trois restaurant--"Journey's End", whose title I quote in my song "Coming Clean" ("all of us come clean you know/there at Journey's End/ waiting for the wave to flow/waiting for a sign to start again") is the very play that launched the career of both fledgling theatrical director James Whale (straight from the trenches of France himself, and the subject of Bill Condon's excellent biopic "Gods and Monsters" with the great Sir Ian McKellen playing Whale), and his lead actor in the original production, Colin Clive (Dr. Frankenstein, I presume...Clive actually replaced Laurence Olivier who did the original reading production which ran only twice)...the two of them parlayed their West End success with this bracing, serious-minded, affecting drama into a filmed production of the play in 1930 for Gainsborough Studios, directed by Whale (also his first film) and starring Colin Clive...which in turn led to a ticket to Hollyweird for both of them to film "Frankenstein" for Universal...and thus a Monster was born. Unfortunately, sadly, the excellent production at the Belasco closed yesterday, right before receiving its Tony...perhaps audiences here found the current relevance of the play vis a vis contemporary events a little bit too much like real life for comfort's international hit in 1928 with over 30 productions running across Europe, I pray this cautionary play gets many more future productions round the world on the strength of last night's award.

Meanwhile back to the trenches (waiting for a sign to start again...)


Blogger munchhausen said...

Gary, have you ever been in Italy in tour, or u programm to be here?

P.S: what's your policy about demo tapes, mp3s, songs and other stuff you surely receive from people around the world. Do u listen to them ( before putting them in the trash, if needed? )


6/12/2007 2:09 PM  
Blogger Gary Lucas said...

yes, i've played in Bologna, Firenze, Reggio Emilia, Palermo, Bergamo, Trieste...hope to play more shows there soon, as I LOVE ITALY!

Sure, send me your stuff, and I'll try and listen but can't promise an immediate response.


6/12/2007 2:46 PM  
Blogger munchhausen said...


I think i will send you some stuff soon ( well, after they reach a medium fidelity with some home mixing ). Just hope the sound will not ruin your ears in an irreparable way ( It is known that Beethoven composed music also after he became stone-deaf , but i don't think it would be an appropriate thing for playing guitar in a rock band ).

I have readed that you visited a lot of beautiful cities here, I hope you will have the opportunity to play soon, maybe in Naples or in the islands near it ( Capri, Ischia, that's the place where I live ). They 're peaceful and inspiring places.


6/13/2007 1:29 PM  
Blogger Philip M Ward said...

Glad to see you name-checking the great Sandy Denny here. Do you have any personal memories? You might be interested in my Sandy blog at


6/18/2007 9:08 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link