From: Chuck Donches

Subject: My review, like you need it

"There are times when I wonder if what I do makes a difference to you who are listening…"

"Blue Genes" is an eloquent keynote address for this album. I’m sticking with the term album because I like it. Love the Harrison-esque slide guitar solo. The band kicked this one good in concert, and I was taken by surprise to see that you played everything on this track. It has a great live feel, and the seems in the over-tracking never show. You gotta’ tell me how the hell you pulled off this trick. All of the tracks sound live. This sounds as good as Coelacanth (if I misspelled it, well I been drinkin’ some wine tonight. No excuse… can’t spell it sober.)

"Barney’s in the Vent"… and I’m never going back to that death trap of an office again. Workplace violence never seemed so danceable.

"The Assumption" is part two of the self-deprecating suite, and every bit as catchy as the first. You know my tolerance for Zappa was always curtailed by his seemingly conscientious avoidance of accessibility. I think you are succeeding here where the master did not. Perhaps that was never his goal, but would it have killed him to keep it light once in a damned while? No need to refute my Phyllis Stein point of view; it’s a complement to you. (That last line goes in your sequel to "Who Dogs the Outlet".) Love the "thick skin a-pealing" double entendre. Caught it on the sixth or seventh listen.

"’Ya Famous?" Is there really an apostrophe before the Y in "Ya"? I think it should go after the "a". Run that through your theory of relativity. Is there a key change in the penultimate chorus? Seems the vocal tension drops, then rises for the hilarious 80’s new wave send up of the everybody-sing-along chorus "la-la-la-la-la-la…" This is fun stuff.

"Disappointed" Skeptical? No! Sounds like someone let you down big time. The groove is tense and tight. Loved it live, and it holds up here too. Damn, you gotta’ tell me how you did that. What's with the Zeppelin reference? I’m missing something. Too much Diana Krall and NPR in my head these days. Can’t figure the subtext.

"Out of My Mind" takes me back to those heady 80’s. Love the vocal harmonies. The whole groove is thick yet spry. The last chorus shows your producer’s chops. Like Ukie goes to Hollywood with a slap and tickle to Carly Simon. (Too easy? Sorry… bygones.)

"?" You worried about getting sued again? I think the Saudi royal family will let this one slide. Still, the sources are very Michael Moore, and they keep him out of Civil court. Come to think of it, a suit brought by someone big could do wonders for your career. Bravo. Please write speeches for the next Democratic whipping boy, and they might get a few laughs from 49% of the voters before they become a Trivial Pursuit question. I think lefties need a humor refresher. Had Al Gore gone on SNL before Election Day 2000, none of this Orwellian mindfuck would be going on today. Keep tipping. Personal note: I don’t enjoy using a feeding tube, and I don’t patronize bunny rabbits. "She Suffers From Superlatives" Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie, both Simpson girls (and there icky Dad) and all the Bachelorettes… you’re on notice! I only wish there were as many television executives feeling this way as there appear to be singing in the chorus.

"Bang"… what ran out venom? Shot yer wad in "?" I suppose. Still, can’t believe it’s all you. It sounds live as hell.

"We’re Looking for Something More Ethnic" Really worked in concert too. I think it has a hook, and I use it on the elliptical step machine. Really.

"Done Talking" Help me place the influence here. The chorus really evokes the 80’s guitar bands. "Your best intentions…" really takes me back. I’m two big glasses into my uncle’s cheap vino, and the veritas ain’t comin’ too easily. Truth don’t come too cheap. I think I need another glass. The Police, with the vocals down an octave? Is that it? Zenyeta Geologica.

"Who Dogs the Outlet" No punctuation? Hmm. Couldn’t catch many of these words in the performance, but the message came across I think. Is Mingus mingable? If not he, then who? More wine, wench! I feel like I am guilty of dogging the outlet just by listening. The guitar chords in the chorus are reminiscent of Andy Summers and Andy Taylor in the best sense. You sir, have more stink than stench.

""Sciurus Carolinensisantithesisaurus" I just killed two small spiders at my basement computer desk. I’m feeling a bit of your paranoia toward the fauna we share the planet with. (Fauna?… flora?… whatever.) Eyebrows of some devil? C’mon, where’d you get that? And "Fuzz rats" too. Great! I actually have story to relate that is, well, relevant. I had a baby squirrel, no bigger than seven inches long without the tail, chase my whole family out of our own backyard two summers ago. I was raking last year’s leaves out of the flower beds (pathetic I know) and this little guy decides to strike an offensive posture and cantor straight for me. Max, aged three years at the time, thought he was cute, And so did I, as I kept my rake between me and the varmint. Damned thing kept crawling over the rake to get to me. I urge Max inside, and the damned thing (accurate description by this point in the story. They’re not so cute.) goes for my boy. I keep the rake between the Evil Silver Maple Denison and my progeny, and eventually we all go inside. The squirrel ducked into the hedges near the house, and poked his petulant head out now and then. I didn’t want to hurt something so small, but this thing was spooking me. Had it’s tail ached up over it head. And it’s eyes, it’s eyes… Like Eastwood in Pale Rider. Eventually we called a draw, but I don’t trust the trees. They are a breeding ground for terrorist insurgencies. Love the groove, especially the claw scratches in the middle. I just need to tell myself it’s just a funny, funny song. Not true at all.

…and what, no more ordering from Joe Ricci at Penn Pizza? Who’s this Picasso?

Max and I discovered TMBG earlier this year when Jason Reed sent us a children’s recording of their CD and DVD "Here Come the ABC’s" Max is going to be way hipper than his old man. Hope so. He wants to play drums and sax. Fuck me.

Okay old friend, once more… wonderful project. Nice to hear you let more of it hang out and just flat out rock. This is a great record. I think it’s your most personal and also your best. Go make me twelve more. I use multiple tracks to motivate me at the gym. Not just for beats, but for the achievement of your visions; artistic and physical. Next year, the Ice House Show will be $15, right? I’ll be ordering some CD’s for gifts. Why isn’t this on i-Tunes or CD Baby yet? Get on it.

Epilogue

I covered "Goodbye" last Saturday night at my regular gig, as a closer of course. The sax player dug it when I played him your CD in the car, but no one gave a fuck in the restaurant when I did it. Par for the course there. I am sure I mispronounced the Ukrainian word. Forgive me.

Wonderful packaging. Kudos to Donna, you and Slau. What a great time this is. Thanks again.

Dean Windolf


From: George Hrab

Subject: My response, like you need it

Chaz!

My goodness… talk about above and beyond. Thanks so much for the dissertation. It really means a whole lot to me that you took the time. So- turnabout being good for the gander…

Here then are replies (as such) to any and all of the queries that arose throughout the text of yo' review.

Dig it:

"Blue Genes" … has a great live feel, and the seems in the over-tracking never show. You gotta' tell me how the hell you pulled off this trick. All of the tracks sound live.

Ah yes. The challenge of multi-tracking. To me it comes down to trying to get individual passes to be whole performances as much as possible. If I start and stop TOO many times, I scrap the track and start over. The most important "through takes" are drums and bass. After that, I find that I can get away with more fragmented guitar, key and vocal takes. It also helps to have whichever instrument you're playing to be as low in the mix as possible, that way your responding to what's on tape (ie the band) and not YOUR idea of what the tempo is. Slau also is INVALUABLE in the mixing part to make all of the levels as hot and band-like as possible.

"Barney's in the Vent" … and I'm never going back to that death trap of an office again. Workplace violence never seemed so danceable.

This tune is about the Mission Impossible TV show. Dig it!

"The Assumption" is part two of the self-deprecating suite, and every bit as catchy as the first. You know my tolerance for Zappa was always curtailed by his seemingly conscientious avoidance of accessibility. I think you are succeeding here where the master did not.

Oh good gravy! Kinder words could not be spoke!

Love the "thick skin a-pealing" double entendre. Caught it on the sixth or seventh listen.

…sort of stole that from Gordon Sumner. He had a line where he spelt a lyric 2 ways- "The mighty Flea (flee?)". Not an original bone in my body.

"'Ya Famous?" Is there really an apostrophe before the Y in "Ya"? I think it should go after the "a".

Actually, the apostrophe is replacing ARE YOU in ARE YOU FAMOUS, much as the apostrophe replaces the I in THERE IS there's. Good question though… I'm such a c'ck.

Is there a key change in the penultimate chorus?

Good ears! We drop from Bb to G, then back to Bb for the final vocal hoo-ha. I figured it's too easy to modulate UP at the end of a tune.

"Disappointed" Skeptical? No! Sounds like someone let you down big time.

You said it bro. It was a skeptic that let me down though. So…

What's with the Zeppelin reference? I'm missing something.

Well… When I wrote the guitar interlude, I wasn't thinking Zeppelin. I wanted to see if you could write an interesting melody against a bass line that descended chromatically, and not have it sound like it was transposing. It was going to be a free standing piece (or the beginnings of one) but I sort of took Billy Joel's advice and made sure the bridge was the most interesting part of the tune. (I know it's not really a bridge but you get the point..) It was while orchestrating the thing that I realized the chromaticism lent itself to the flutey Stairway vibe, and any reference to "heaven" in a tune about skeptics was cool enough for me.

"?" You worried about getting sued again?

Nope, just my way to have a sort-of instrumental tune be the sort of title track.

I only wish there were as many television executives feeling this way as there appear to be singing in the chorus.

That's me and Slau about 8 times over.

"Bang"… what ran out venom? Shot yer wad in "?" I suppose. Still, can't believe it's all you. It sounds live as hell.

Thanks! Those are all single takes. Find the bass clam around 2 minutes in. Fun!

"We're Looking for Something More Ethnic" Really worked in concert too.

Actually, the piece that Eric and I played is something that Steve Primatic and I wrote, back for the Geologic concerts at Moravian. At the icehouse, we combined the coolest parts of two pieces: "Just Duet" and "Children On Airplanes" and came up with "Just Duet On Airplanes". Ah you pianer players think all drum solos sound the same...

"Done Talking" Help me place the influence here.

I was sorta thinking XTC, a bit of Foo Fighters, and dare I say it Elvis Costello. Especially the "Your Best Intentions...."

"Who Dogs the Outlet" No punctuation? Hmm.

Here, it's short for "Those Who Dog the Outlet", so it's not really a question. My exec producer and I debated that though...

The guitar chords in the chorus are reminiscent of Andy Summers and Andy Taylor in the best sense.

To me, those chords SCREAM Robert Fripp circa '82.

"Sciurus Carolinensisantithesisaurus"....

Love the spelling! I always loved the fact that squirrels could get away with MURDER because they're CUTE. If rats or possum walked up to you at the park you'd NEVER give them left over food. I also had a similar experience to yours here in the Sun Inn Courtyard. One of these rodent bastards made a bee line for me and within the span of a yard went from cute curiosity to terrifying nut beast. I love that subtle line betwixt the two.

… and what, no more ordering from Joe Ricci at Penn Pizza? Who's this Picasso?

I haven't been to Penn Pizza since college. I always found their crust to be too... uh... crusty. Picasso Pizza is in the lower level of the Commons (under Bethlehem Brew Works) and makes a KILLER white pizza. Nice.

Max and I discovered TMBG earlier this year when Jason Reed sent us a children's recording of their CD and DVD "Here Come the ABC's"

TMBG also have a great kids album called "NO!" Very fun.

Okay old friend, once more… wonderful project.

Too kind my friend. Too kind.

Why isn't this on i-Tunes or CD Baby yet? Get on it.

We're having some weird delivery issues with CD Baby. The page is ready to go, but they seem to keep saying they haven't gotten the inventory we sent. Argh. It will be up and available on the web and iTunes SOOOON.

I covered "Goodbye" last Saturday night at my regular gig, as a closer of course.

I think you are the FIRST person to cover a tune of mine. That is truly touching. Now where's my royalty?! Kidding!

I am sure I mispronounced the Ukrainian word. Forgive me.

As we say in my country- Bjkhbvzd!

Wonderful packaging. Kudos to Donna, you and Slau. What a great time this is. Thanks again.

No no no... thank you sir. A true gentleman to the end. I can't tell you how much this review means to me.

Mille grazie!

Yours-
Nancy Clark