Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Ardent Wagnerian blogger ACD denies that “Wagner is a master of harmony and texture”; that he has a “genius for atmosphere” and a “mastery of . . . structure”; that the opening of “Das Rheingold” is “magical, spectral, expectant”; that Erda’s tune near the end of “Das Rheingold” is pretty; that the story of the Ring is interesting and that “Das Rheingold” makes one curious to see the tetralogy to the end. That’s what he seems to have meant when he wrote that what I missed about “Das Rheingold” in last night’s post is “comprehensive.”

At least ACD shows me the respect of reading and linking to me, a respect which is mutual.


In addition to catching up with my sister & her family & my brother & parents when in Chicago and Kalamazoo last week, and having my first live Cage and Wagner experiences, I also dropped in unannounced on my friends Kate O’Reilly (who sang in my band in Chicago, the Wild Onion Rhythm Babies) and Michael Greenberg. I met Kate on a bus in ‘88 or ‘89 when I was living in Chicago, shortly after she & I had played on the same bill in different acts -- I guess we met at that show. The bus meeting was shortly after that, and the moment we started talking we were lifelong friends. Her husband Michael and I connected immediately as well, and though we go months and even years without talking now, whenever I drop by their house it’s always as though we’d seen each other last week.

Michael played piano & wrote the bulk of the music for the legendary Chicago band Maestro Subgum & the Whole, which Kate sang in. Maestro broke up in the early ‘90s and Michael kept on chugging, putting bands together and putting out solo albums, mostly self-released. When I dropped by last week, Michael was at work, and Kate told me that this spring he’d put out a 2-cd retrospective culling from his first 15 albums (including several Maestro albums) put out over 17 years, and then immediately after that he put out a brand new album. I had no idea he’d released so much stuff.

Terrific albums both, not for sale anywhere, and I tout them proudly, because -- surprise to me -- I have songs on both of them, songs Michael & I wrote together years ago. I’d forgotten completely about one of the songs. I play guitar on one of the songs on the retrospective too.

I hope to talk Michael into letting people buy his records. I’ll let you know.

While I was in Michigan, my friend Robert Hinrix played another of my songs at a political cabaret in Seattle. Robert plays bass and mandolin in my (still officially unnamed) band, and he’s also a fine guitarist & ukulelist. He’d signed the band up to play the cabaret, not knowing that I had a ticket out of town, so he played the song solo that he had in mind, a scurrilous bit of doggerel I wrote in ‘99 about a certain Republican Presidential candidate’s rumored coke habit. Robert told me it was the hit of the evening when, during the line “George got naked and danced on a table,” the cabaret’s MC came out dancing, wearing nothing but a Dubya mask. Wish I’d’ve been there.

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