Prostrates and Babies

So my dad had his prostrate removed last week. It got pretty inflamed and it had to go. Its been a kinda intense week mulling that over. I’m so lucky to have an older brother that’s a doctor that lives near my folks. Makes a bit easier to swallow that I’m 3000 miles away. Every day he sounds a little bit better. I feel like he’s on the upward path.

Yesterday Stina and I starting talking a bit about the future, what with the possible child rearing and locationality issues. For the first time, “we’ll do that later” turned into something more concrete, like “maybe we’ll start trying in the next couple years.” That in turn leads to “well, what does that mean to our life”.


I mean, I shouldn’t be completely in shock. This is part of an evolving conversation we’ve been having for many a year now. But, what with the getting older and eating cake all the time, its probably time to face (and hopefully embrace) the reality of raising a family.

I dunno. Its sounds kinda crazy, with the sacrifice and responsibility. I’m not there yet. But I’m on my way.

So then I went to see the John Butler trio at the Fillmore. Which is fairly symbolic, since the last time I saw him it kicked off my 30th birthday extravaganza (which went on for like 10 days), and I had a lot of intense thoughts going on with the turning of 30. John Butler is extremely talented. A joy to listen to. His band is stellar. His new CD is rather good. So I let the sweet sounds mix in with my many swirling thoughts and decided to be really happy, because I was at one my favorite places doing one of my most favorite things.

This was then followed by another one of my most favorite things: late night sandwich.



General Fuzz Interview

For those who are interested, echoes is broadcasting the interview taped at my living room concert on Monday, June 25. You can see if you pick up echoes on a local radio station here. Otherwise, you can always hear it through their podcast, where I believe they make the interviews available for free.

I don’t really remember what we talked about, so it’ll be interesting (at least for me) to hear it.

The concert will air sometime in July.



Friends Bands

On Friday night Stiners and I (along with many friends who we met on the way) did the friend’s bands circuit in the Richmond. First we went to Cafe Velo Rouge to catch Brian’s new band: Glenn Labs. The cafe was pretty tiny and it got mighty packed. We may have to return to sample the cuisine – it sounded pretty tasty.

Brian’s band put out a strong, but short, debut performance. I particularly enjoyed the keyboard guy.

We stuck around for the next act: Sex with No Hands. The highlight of that set was when they covered a Journey tune with two accordions and a trumpet. They couldn’t sing all that well – which they were very upfront about – but they made up for it with enthusiasm.

Then it off to the Plough and Stars for the Deciders (formerly the Jewgrass Boys) CD release party. The opener from Santa Cruz, The Down Beets, was really good. I’m not the big a bluegrass fan, so I was surprised that I enjoyed them so much. Their madolin player was ridiculous.

Then the Deciders. They were pretty spot on. They’ve got a bunch of gigs under their belt, and it shows. Really good pickers to boot. The lyrics were pretty damn smart – again, I usually don’t pay attention. They could all shine when they tossed their salad along (that’s blugrass slang for take turns soloing). In the middle of the set, they let the bass player sing a tune, and oh boy, does she have a set of pipes. They should have used her a LOT more. They place fell apart when she starting singing.

Check out devil Jordan:

Scary, huh? Well he sure can pick the ‘ole banjo. . . up.

Which is no big deal really. I could pick up a banjo if I wanted to. I just chose not to. I don’t have one near by right now.

So the Deciders have released a spanking new CD, and they made it creative commons (just like my music). This means its free to download. So go download it. Then bother them to make it a single zip file.

I had big plans to go out and see Sphongle @ 1015 Folsom late night, but after seeing four sets of music, the mustard jar was empty. F that. I ended up walking over to the Davis’s residence where it turned out they were babysitting a Wii. Perfect. We ended up playing single bounce low score bowling for $1.



Granny’s 90th

Oh my. We just returned Granny’s (Stina’s Dad’s mom) 90th birthday celebration, which also doubled as a Rudden family reunion. I hadn’t met most of the extended family, so I knew I was in for a huge weekend of meeting folks. We managed to pack a lot of living into our 49 hrs in Virgina.

We met up with Stina’s folks (Michael and Martizie) in the Dullas airport, and made our way to the B’n’B which was our base camp. It was a historic home somewhere in the middle of Virginia.

First on the agenda was the Mexican Fiesta hosted at Pam’s (Michael’s sister) house. Pam has five children, four of which are married with children, some with several children. There are a whole mess of kids. My family is rather tiny, with a total of 3 nephews and nieces. This family is gigantic – its funny that Michael represents the smallest slice of the family with just one child who’s not super into reproduction just yet. We had a whole a slew of inappropriate answers prepared for the inevitable baby questions (my favorite being “We feel that there are too many people in the world right now. Obviously you disagree”). Fortunately it didn’t really come up.

The Rudden clan don’t do parties half assed. This one had an absurd amount of Mexican food, complete with a Margarita machine.

I’m not really a huge fan of margaritas, but theses were dangerously delicious. OMG. I even dutifully obeyed Pam when told to fetch Granny another one. I was a little surprised to see a life sized Oooo (Granny’s long deceased husband’s nickname) doll in the basement. He seemed quite festive with a sombrero hat, so it was cool. Some of the little ones were scared of him though.

Carmen, Patti’s (Michael’s other sister) daughter brought a giant paper mache Margarita glass to the party (a Bunyata). Since it was too fragile to bust open, they placed it on the upper deck, and Granny tossed its contents (mini bottles of liquor) one at a time to the eager crowd below. Welcome to the family.

Brian (son of Pam) had brought along his Wii, so I felt right at home in the basement with some projected Wii bowling. We had a blast. Things got a little weird with the Oooo doll though.

The following morning was the Rudden family BBQ. It was at a beautiful spot in a park that kissed the Potomac river. It was complete with matching shirts and a giant Moon Bounce. There was some sweet wiffle ball action, more too much food, lavish artistic presents for Granny from Patti, an egg toss, and a pig Pinata also provided by Carmen.

Also a customary group photograph. My family has suddenly gotten much larger.

Granny and her children (Patti, Michael, Pam):

Then came the fancy dinner celebration. There was a Granny trivia competition and an open bar. There were speeches, word games hosted by Patty (I held my own in the question game), a sibling of the year award (well earned by Pam), and an induction into the mysterious family cult (the FOBSILS).

Our present to Granny was an enthusiastically sung reworking of “California, Here I Come”. It was well received by Granny. Dinner ended only too soon.

Those without children to attend to were in no mood to call it a night. We wandered over to the first bar we found and heard loud music (drum machine and guitar) pouring out of it. Before we had time to asses the situation, the guitarist/singer guy/girl (I’m pretty sure it was a guy) came out of the bar (he/she had a wireless pickup) and rocked out with us on the sidewalk. It was beyond surreal at this point. Then he/she had us doing a kick line with him/her to “Naaaaa na na na naaaa“. We followed him/her into the bar. Stina saw a piano, and requested that I join the jam. He/she seemed down, so I did. The crowd (we were half the bar patrons) ate it up.

It was simply ridiculous. He/she was super psyched that we came and sang and danced with great enthusiasm.

After we closed down the bar, we walked the block back to the B’n’b and hung out for a bit. Catherine (Pam’s youngest) was the only one not officially staying there, so we sorted out a rooming scenario (possibly with the youngin who we all were guilty of pushing too many drinks upon).

When we called it a night at 3am, we headed up the stairs to hear knocking coming out of one of the bathrooms. Catherine had somehow managed to lock herself IN to the bathroom. It was the absolute icing to the cake. She was extracted some 15 minutes later after much debate and poorly attempted quiet yelling through the door.


We all looked a little haggard for Sunday breakfast, but there were smiles all around. There was a family Brunch/farewell at Pam’s where the video that Stina made all weekend (interviewing family about Grannie memories) was aired along with a fantastic picture slideshow made by Johanna (a professional photographer). This family was truly amazing to pull this whole thing together. And then all too soon we were on our way back to Cali.

The whole weekend was much more fun and intense then I had anticipated. Everyone was extremely welcoming to me and helped me feel right at home. I felt like I had a chance to connect a little bit with almost everyone there. Granny was in good shape for 90, and was clearly really touched by all the celebration, filled with joy to have her whole family all together for the first time ever.

These kind of events don’t happen with out lots of planning and effort. Its pretty clear where Stina gets it from.

I can’t imagine a fuller 49 hours of my life. I feel blessed to be part of this family. Happy Birthday Granny.



Dan T + 3.0 = beer!

It started with dinner plans. Stiners and I met up with Angel and Dan at their house at 7. Then Jordan happened to stop by, cause he was “playin a gig nearby”. Then DanT was presented with the wicked home made keg-o-rater. It was all empty and sad, but certainly epic in promise. No more bottling homebrew for DanT (which apparently is a pain in the ass). Shortly thereafter more peeps dropped in. Then A Keg arrived, pizza was delivered, cake soon followed, and a party was in fully swing.

Hats off to Angel for the clever coordination a reverse surprise party. While most us reveled in the keg of beer, Stina was all atwitter because it was a birthday party with pizza and cake.

Happy 3.0, Dan T! Too bad you don’t read my blog.



That Old Fear

We went to our annual A’s vs. Red Sox game this week. Unfortunately it was a pretty boring game, and the A’s won 2-0. The only beers less then a mile walk away was bud or miller, $8 a glass. As we sat there, getting colder and colder, I couldn’t help thinking, man, its so much more convenient to watch this on a TV, where I can see everything up close, the bathroom is nice and near, the beers are cheap, readily available, and far more delicious. On the other hand, when the hell would I watch a game on TV, really?

Yesterday we went to see Spidey 3. The collective feeling I got from my friends who had already seen it was that it was good, not great. This did not adequately prepare me for how terrible I thought it was. The action scenes were good, but the rest was just crap. We even snuck into Shrek 3 after, but only made it 40 minutes before we thought it was so bad we left. As we sat in line trying to leave the parking garage (even though the garage is free and is in the middle of nowhere, the gate lets one car leave every 30 seconds or so – WTF), after our $20 entrance fee, I couldn’t help but feel it was a rip off to go to the movies.

So, now, as I mull over all the gripes I have with these experiences, it frightens me to no end that I’m turning into my father.

Very scary times.



The Sauce

Chuck, an old Obie friend of ours, has been immersed in the San Jose rock scene for the past six or so years, playing in all sorts of funk/ska bands. It was time for Chuck to finally assemble a band of his own, and so, the Sauce was born.

The Sauce held its debut show on Saturday at the Blank Club in San Jose. To increase the likely hood of a SF presence at the show, he had his friend Drew drive a cargo van up to our neighborhood to ferry 8 people to and from the show. Now, as we to learn, this is not any old van. This was a fully tricked out van, complete with blue fur, blue track lights, mirrored ceiling, and DVD viewing capabilities.

View from the ceiling:

So we got to watch Anchorman, and all was excellent, minus one incident of car sickness. Drew is one amazing guy – willing to drive an extra 4 hours (after already driving 4 hours to get home from a gig earlier that day) to help support his friend Chuck.

The sauce opened up the show, and was pretty solid for their first live show.

You probably can’t make out the female keyboard player on the left, but it was keys, chuck on guitar, a bad ass bass player, and drums. They kinda flowed in between funk, ska, and reggae. Its great to hear Chuck so up front on vocals. I was somewhat familiar with the tunes since he’d already slipped me a preview disc, so I really enjoyed hearing them live. I look forward to seeing/hearing their evolution.



Izabella & Meltone @ 12 Galaxies

Back at 12 Galaxies for some more groovin.

Stiners and I met up with Ryan and Lizzie for some serious get down. Meltone, a Japanese jamband that’s being traveling over to the west coast for the last couple years, made their debut appearance at 12 Galaxies. Randomly, they hired Nemo, the duder who did the album art for “Cool Aberrations“, to do live art during the show. Nemo lives up in Portland, so this was the first time we’ve seen each other in many a year. It was fantastic to catch up a bit, and learn about the insane art projects he’s got in the oven.

Sean Lehe, the guitarist who rips on “the grenabler“, is the lead guitarist in Izabella. Its good to see how the new iteration of this band is starting to gel a bit.

Frank Chu was hanging around to make it a legitimate 12 Galaxies experience.

While I was rocking out too hard during Sean’s epic jams to capture it, I did manage to grab a taste of his guitar prowess.
Then came on Meltone, complete with keytar player. They we’re extremely high energy, and those in attendance seemed to soak it up. Again, I missed capturing most of the epic moments due to my grooving interests, here’s a space rock taste of Meltone:
They were some seriously goofy fun.



Manu Chau

It wasn’t even on my radar. Then Aaron sends me an email asking if I’m going. He mentions that it was the best show he saw last year, which was brutally unfair. I cannot ignore such a thing from a seasoned concert goer. I check it out, and its sold out. Craigslist tells me thats is a sellers market, with ticket prices as much as twice as face. I put out a couple feelers, nothing comes back, and I’m resigned to not go. Until I get the absolute last minute phone call for a ticket for face, and I’m in.

And, man, am I glad I got to see this one. I’ve never seen a crowd so amped. From the first note, hands and bodies were in the air. The energy was unbelievable. He and his band was going full speed the whole show.
There’s only a very few number people in this world who have that special something. The undefinable it factor that causes people to worship them. Manu Chau has it. I felt it was like seeing Bob Marley perform. A leader of positive social reform who also posses a powerful music presence as well. Most of the show was in Spanish. I had no idea what they were singing about, but I couldn’t stop dancing.

He can also grab some mighty air.

There was also some good audience participation. A couple people managed to get over the barricade, thwart security, and climb on stage. There’s about a 10 foot gap between the barricade and the stage. One dude, got up on stage, danced around, yelled the chorus in Manu mic (Manu always deferred to the people who got on stage), and performed a running stage dive, soaring over the 10 foot gap, landing like 8 rows back. It was unbelievable. The third most rock and roll moment I’ve ever seen.

Later in the show, the same dude was back on stage. Security wanted to clear him off, but someone in crew stopped security from getting him. This dude then tore off all his clothes and danced around the stage naked for the entire song. Don’t believe me?