Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Ton Strap; Infatuation Therapy

The Secret Museum
Michael Mooney and Jim Webb


Group history, please.

We've been friends since the late ’90s. Kevyn, Danny and Max grew up in Dixon, and Kan, originally from Japan, spent his youth in the valley of San Cristobal. Later, after Kan lived on the couch ... for months ... the band was formed. "Restless nights," says Kan. Max and Kevyn used to play with Omar Rane and Rita O'Connell until they got fired and replaced by significantly better musicians. What up, Norm!

Obviously, some rootsy countrified influences are discernible in your music. Are you Mekons fans?

We don't know who they are ... now we feel like real tools. It's surprising that anything in our music is "discernible." (What does that mean?) Our major influences are hangin' out and friends. And we're boozers. Also, the band Handsome Molly was a major influence on our music and our drinking.

Favorite tipple?

PBR and a shot of Beam.

Banjo: open G tuning?

The banjo was custom-made for Kan by Brooks Masten ( If anyone knows how to tune a 4-string banjo, fuck you.

You have some very nifty gig fliers. Who's responsible?

Our good friend, Taos resident Sarah Hart of Hart Print Shop (, designs and prints all of our flyers on recycled beer boxes. "She's an incredibly talented woman and we're blessed to have her in our lives," says Kevyn Gilbert. “With her help, we also make all our own shirts, underwear, beer koozies and other stuff.”

Can you offer some thoughts on the allure of Dixon, N.M.?

"Stay the hell out of our town, yuppies," says Koko. "Except for the studio tour, when we'd like your money."

I've been listening to your music on MySpace, but the player produces a hyper echoey wobble, like Lee Perry and Martin Rushent on Ether fighting for control of a Pogues session. I'm sure it's just my computer. You should hear it though.

Sounds like maybe it IS your computer. Call Gizmo Productions (575) 758-9522. We record all our own music. A lot of our online material is from live shows.

Does everyone write?

Everyone does a bit of writing—some as group songs, some written solo and brought to the group.

What's your schedule looking like this season?

Check our website: We're too lazy to book our own shows. If someone else wants to do that, please call (575) 613-5914. Shadows and Dreams excluded. Fuck you. "Thanks for paying our bar tab, Brendan!"

Dreams? What was that about?
"Hey bartender. D’ya know how to make a redeye?"

4 ounces Beer
1 ounce Vodka
3 ounces Tomato Juice
1 whole Egg

Recording plans?

We record intermittently at Milton Records, and will be recording our full-length EP with Dave Costanza, hopefully.

Kannaroo—group effort or simply Kan?

Simply Kan. June 19. Sunshine Valley. Lots of bands. Free show. Free camping. Free love.

You are one of the more higher-profile Rock bands in the area. What is your take on the local music scene, and what can be done to improve it?

"Stale? Watered-down? Unoriginal?" says Max.
"I'm improving the scene!" says Kan. "Come to Kannaroo."
"They should change our name to the Brent BEAR Band," Koko pointed out, "because we're about to pull a grizzly on their asses."
“If you're tired of the same-old, same-old, come out to Kannaroo. Don't be a tool.”

Thank you, Two Ton Strap.

-Michael Mooney


Most of you probably have at least one or two hobbies that you spend some of your free time pursuing. You might be into gardening, playing golf or any number of other healthy diversions that help us cope with the pressures of everyday life. I’m sure you think you are pretty well adjusted and these leisure activities wouldn’t be considered an obsession or compulsion. But has your hobby ever crossed the line into a full-blown infatuation?

An infatuation can frequently occur within a hobby, as an intense period of concentrated interest that can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. One example might be of someone who enjoys reading, suddenly having to track down every known book from a particular author, and refuses to read anything else until they’ve finished them all. A person that finds decorating their home rewarding could also exhibit some obsessive behavior by needing to find an accessory for their kitchen or living room, and then proceed to visit every antique shop/flea market within a hundred miles of where they live in search of the “perfect” piece. Hikers can feel compelled to reach all mountain summits over a certain height in the state they live in. These obsessions can go in any direction and are really endless in their possibilities. I bring this up because we may not share any of the same interests, but we can all understand each other’s need for the enthusiastic pursuit of personal happiness.

The infatuations that infrequently take control of me are usually (but not always) music related. Countless times in the last 40 years of buying and listening to music, I have found myself needing to hear every album or CD a band has released. I’ll also have to track down all books written about that particular group or artist, and travel to see them perform live. Some early infatuations lasted for years (Grateful Dead), other times it lasts only three or four weeks (Rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers). Then I return to my normal listening habits. I have also done an extended immersion where, 24/7, I play nothing but a certain artist or group. A music immersion is a “burst” within an infatuation. An example of a musical immersion would be when you wake up and the first music you put on the stereo, ipod or computer is your current infatuation. You listen to their music while driving your car; it continues to be played at your place of work and is also heard when you get home in the evening. I’ve gone weeks with an immersion (Muslimgauze), until I feel that I have an initial understanding of their sound and history. Through the years, immersions have happened when an artist that I’m not familiar with (guitarist Derek Bailey) interests me, or there is someone I already like but realize I need to hear the rest of their extensive catalogue (The Fall). Currently, I am infatuated with the Blue Note jazz record label. Specifically, I’m immersed in everything they released from 1957 to 1967 by sax men Hank Mobley and Tina Brooks, pianist Sonny Clark and guitarist Grant Green. I’m not new to this period of jazz, but have realized that I had missed a lot of great music from that era by concentrating on established performers like Art Blakey or Dexter Gordon. This current immersion has been going on for about three weeks, and it could continue for quite a while—or it could end as quickly as it began.

With all this talk of infatuations, obsessions and immersions, you probably think I’ve got a lot of personal issues to deal with on my end. You may be right, but the next time you spend every waking moment of a weekend skiing, or spend all day shopping endlessly for the perfect pair of jeans or a hanging flower basket for your patio, you have also experienced an immersion. We can debate the merits and labeling of all these different activities, and I obviously would never advocate getting lost in drugs or other destructive actions. The only thing I know for sure is that it’s the people who don’t have any healthy interests that are the ones who puzzle me the most. So much of our lives have to follow a daily routine, we all need something that keeps things interesting, an activity to look forward to. If you find your current lifestyle getting stale, may I suggest you start immediately in the fanatical pursuit of something. Life is short, and there are so many things to get wrapped up in before it’s all over. I can’t wait until tomorrow; you never know when a new infatuation might begin.
Jim Webb

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From The Archives: WORST GIGS EVER (part one)

Michael Bolton/ Kenny G.
Universal Amphitheatre,
Los Angeles, 1990

Diane had heard something by Gorelick on the radio at work, and decided that she liked his smooth style. I was able to get tickets to this sold-out show via a brokerage ($50 each), and had no idea what I was in for-I thought they might be Jazz guys like maybe Al Jarreau or Chuck Mangione or something. This was the single-most horrific musical experience of my life. Kenneth Gorelick made like a brain-dead Pied Piper as he lurched from the stage all the way up the center aisle to the lobby (keep going!); Mikey Bolton’s take-no-prisoners vocal histrionics gave new meaning to the term ‘stupefying’. Afterward, we retired to Bob’s Frolic Room in order to erase all lingering memories- double Jameson for me- though whenever I see a guy with a shiny mane of curls (not very often in Taos) or a Bolton-style mullet (seems like every day!) I’m reminded of that night, and want to be sick all over again.

Here’s something I didn’t know:

Gorelick's 1999 single, “What A Wonderful World” stirred controversy among the jazz community regarding the overdubbing of Louis Armstrong's classic recording. A common criticism was that such a revered recording by a musician known especially for improvisation should not be altered. Pat Metheny responded to this recording by saying, "With this single move, Kenny G became one of the few people on earth I can say that I really can't use at all - as a man, for his incredible arrogance to even consider such a thing, and as a musician, for presuming to share the stage with the single most important figure in our music."

Santana/ Rusted Root
Greek Theatre,
Los Angeles, 1997

Two years before the massive Supernatural, we find Carlos here at his career’s ebb, preaching to the largely upscale Hispanic audience that their lowly vocational choices (itinerant farming, lawn care, dry cleaning) determine how the world sees them. Also, only meditation will heal the planet. Interminable jams follow. Saving grace: the explosive power of Cuban percussionist Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez.

And whose idea was it to allow the appalling Rusted Root a 75-minute opening set?
-Michael Mooney
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