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  

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