NOTES FROM THE ROAD ARCHIVES... page 6

9/27/01

Dr. CHAD: Yom Kippur Message

Thanks to everyone who wrote me recently. I actually felt bad about the message I sent, which originally was just to notify everyone about the Han Bennink cancellation, but had to include some comments about what has been happening. I thought people might think I was trying to make comments on my career decisions and my reactions to the horrible events of Sept. 11 seem of equal importance. In absorbing all the subsequent reactions to Han's cancellation, however, it was not difficult to see that it is all part of the disappointment people are feeling about not being able to go about their normal lives and enjoy the things we were taking for granted. And in this group of people I of course include all the shreeves who probably would have SKIPPED going to his concert if he had come and I had gone to all the trouble of driving a million hours to get to their town because they take live music for granted. But talk about a sad thing, to be denied the happy spark of Han's energy and exuberance because of what happened. If we are talking about standing tall, about skyscrapers--his kind of creativity to me reaches much farther into the sky above us then the World Trade Center towers ever could.

It is our creativity as a people that people in other nations really love about us. Several of my closest friends have been asking me about the European reaction, as I was in Amsterdam when it happened. People were really hurt and upset because they love America. And my perception of why they love it so much is because they love our music and our movies and our books and our artists. The ones that have been fortunate enough to have been able to travel in America--which seems to be every young European's dream--also love the landscape, and the people. They love the native Americans, they love the big cities full of immigrants from so many places. Yet there are far more of them that have never been to the USA, who love us because of our creativity. And for this creativity to tower over the negative image the USA has created for itself around the world through its government leadership is pure fact of how great and powerful that creativity is. For Don Van Vliet to have reached across all those eastern bloc walls, checkpoints and barbed wire fences and get inside so many people's heads is pretty amazing, and it is just one little bitty example.

Then of course people in Europe are really frightened, too. For one thing, this event raised the standard for so-called terrorism to such a level that nobody wants to think about it happening again anywhere. But in my final week there they were also scared that the Americans would start bombing relentlessly somewhere, adding more to the toll of innocent lives lost. Thankfully, this has not happened.

The fear goes on, however. I wanted to thank Thurston Moore for helping distribute so many interesting texts. The presence of these articles on the internet has really been helpful, since the broadcast and print media seem so totally full of a kind of gimmicky, one-dimensional type of commercial propaganda. One thing that intensifies the horror I am feeling is definitely seeing these graffico-cutsietissimo logos such as America Under Attack, America United, and worst of all America's New War--like a fucking soft drink, next thing we'll have ads with Bill Cosby endorsing it! Over the course of this last week I have read practically everything good old Thirsty sent out and it has helped me gain perspective on everything going on.

I think I realize now that all the attempts to assign blame for this massive attack are linked together by a kind of stupidity. The articles by Christopher Hitchens really made me understand this finally. It seems Jerry Falwell and Noam Chomsky are for once in basic agreement, as each proposes a theory of "the chickens coming home to roost," the preacher blaming it on our Triple X morality and the usually quite reasonable Chomsky on our foreign policy. Falwell agrees with Karlheinz Stockhausen that it was some kind of divine attack; the preacher blames God, while the composer says it was the Devil. I don't want to apologize to Stockhausen, because I am sure he could give two shits and a composition for string quartet and four helicopters about what I think. But I have read the full details on what he said, and even if he had said what I thought he said I would still take him off the list of stupid comments people have made, since by now his comment would not even place him on the list of the top 10,000 stupid things said. And that would be if he had said what it was reported he said, which he really didn't. But even if he had said that, let me quickly add that would be no reason not to enjoy his music. I say that because somebody wrote me and said they really wanted to clear this up, they like his music too much. Forget it! He mouths off about stuff all the time, but who cares? He has done alot of really wonderful music, some of my favorite stuff, and for all we know might write a piece of music tonight that will make everyone feel much better.

Meanwhile, some of the stupidest things I read are from people who are lucky enough to have syndicated newspaper columns. William Safire: Attack Iraq Immediately. Cal Thomas (he is a real boob!): Give War A Chance. Someone wrote a letter to the Greensboro paper, blaming the attack on Clinton. If you want to blame a Democratic pres, blame Jimmy Carter! He was the guy that got the USA involved in Afghanistan in the first place, frightening many former draft dodger who had just finally got to come back home. He did it because he didn't want to appear soft on communism. It turns out, the commies were right all along! A government friendly to Russia would have been much better for the people of the country, probably. We wouldn't be having this problem now, probably.

Yeah, the blame thing is really sad-ass. The Jewish community is really upset, needless to say. The main reason the Hitchens articles are so good is because they make one realize that assigning blame anywhere is, in fact, an act in which one slowly transforms oneself into what he compared to a ventriloquist's dummy. Whoever did this has not issued a political statement explaining their actions and linking it to the situation in Israel and Palestine. So why the hell should we create this, or any other, explanation for what it is they did? Why are we trying to dignify this act with an explanation?

The other thing Hitchens does is to make a clear case about how horrible the Taliban really are, and why it wouldn't be morally bad to overthrow them. This has also been the point of several other texts I have read. This aspect makes me nervous, because I see the possibility that it could be just another roll in the propaganda drumbeat for war, war, war. It always helps sustain a war effort if the enemy is seen as a truly horrible entity. Make an acceptable comparison to the Naziis and you have it sewn up. Maybe there are other ways to overthrow a leader that has become a monster, without a war. We can hope so. Hope, like the hope that something like this isn't going to happen again, is part of how we are going to keep going. I start every day with this hope. Will it get the job done, by itself? During the war in Bosnia, when morally every single NATO nation knew they needed to invade with ground troops to try and prevent a holocaust . But nobody wanted to be the country that was going to invade Yugoslavia, once a sovereign and independent nation. And can you blame them? And did we have confidence then, and now, that an invading army is going to fix things up and make everything right? This is what is so difficult about the whole situation. Armies tend to be corrupting influences on whatever society they invade. Talk about Bosnia, we weren't there with ground troops to prevent massacres, but we got a sleazy NATO army in place to help run drugs and weapons and make extra graft off the diminishing food supply once the people were really miserable. When it was time to finally take on the Serbian government militarily, NATO chose a bombing campaign with all its terrible mistakes, destructions of lives and property each time. A speech by Harold Pinter that Thurston sent out accused NATO of bombing the marketplace in Nis on purpose, not by mistake. The fear all of us have about a war is surely tied in with the fact that many of us are not so confident about the NATO military command and the decisions it makes.

The fear we have now in our own towns, on our own streets, is because many of us are also not so confident about the security that can be provided by our police, federal marshals, FBI, CIA, etc, etc. It is perfectly reasonable to assume there are people in the government that will use such a tragedy to obtain their own ends. I mean, somebody had the presence of mind to rush thousands of American flags down to the area of the attack in New York in the hour that it happened. Some of us are really upset about what happened and can't think straight, but others are just plotting, plotting, plotting.

However, we have to do something about the airports and airplane situation. This is a good thing to think about. It is an area where changes could actually be made that would make it impossible for something like that to happen again. I am not saying something else awful might not happen, because somebody is plotting something that has nothing to do with airports and airplanes right now as we speak, I am sure. I can't tell what it would be, because I can't think like these people. I can, however, think about airports and airplanes since I am a frequent flyer. I know the flight routine better than some of the stewardesses, could conduct a sample of the security procedures in a dozen countries, and definately have some suggestions about improving the situation.

The airlines claim they are going to go under unless they get billions of dollars. Our government is going to subsidize them. This means that the country will have a transportation system that is subsidized and does not have to worry about traditional commercial problems such as maximizing profits and making a fat cat board of directors happy. This is a great situation, in fact it could be the greatest thing that ever happened in our country with transportation. This means that the procedures in our airports and airplanes could be set up to be safe, comfortable and more convenient without anyone worrying about money being lost here and there.

The airlines should be required to provide twice the seating space for each passenger that they have now, meaning they would carry only half as many passengers. This would immediately make it easier for security procedures to be effectively carried out. If the task force in charge of security is doubled in manpower, the resulting proportion of passengers vis a vis security people would make it again easier to screen each passenger properly. The security procedure should be completely revamped, and should begin when the ticket is purchased, not when the passenger shows up at the airport. Tickets should no longer be available in the cockamamie fashion they are now. The airlines have been trying to assassinate the travel agency business for years now. Instead, the two industries should work together to establish a network of authorized ticket agencies that are easily accessible in every town across the country. Passengers would apply for and purchase airplane tickets in these offices, establishing relationships with reliable agents that could effectively speed up the process for steady business travelers and certainly not cause any problems for families on vacation, who presently have to sort their way through a mishmash of confusing and misleading airline advertisements, the unreliable and equally misleading online data and internet ticket systems, or simply trust their travel agent, who might be scheming on a way to make a nickel after the last attack on their commissions by the airlines. Reasonable, discounted fares without lots of strings attached should be easily available, removing the necessity for "brokers" to buy up tickets that are sold at heavy discounts without any real human contact through phone calls, internet and credit cards.

In most cases, the airlines would know who the people are that are traveling before they even get to the airport. Security lounges should be set up where people would wait for an interview much the way one waits in an office for a job interview or medical appointment. Only, more efficient! Remember, people aren't going to be "dropping in" with busted hands and screwing up the doctor's appointment notebook. There should be magazines, comfortable seats, etc. The people would then have an interview, whatever it takes, in an office where video and audio documentation would be constantly running. In many cases, this would only be a formality. Then the passenger would be cleared for the flight. Anyone who arouses suspicion on a criminal or immigrational level would be sent to another office where agents that specialize in these departments would be able to deal with them. The interview questions should be based on providing security in the case of each person, and not be designed to prevent only one particular type of event. Ever since the Lockerbie bombing, the security procedure in every European country has been based on the details of that event, and none other. Asking every single person if they have been given a package by someone they don't know and whether they packed their own luggage is not an effective security procedure. Everyone should submit to a pat-down search including walking through a metal detector, plastic explosives detector, or whatever else they come can up with. I would be all for reading people's minds before they get on planes. Part of these security procedures are going to be difficult for our government to deal with, because they are going to require dropping the emphasis on certain taboos. For instance, customs agents or security people who have been looking for items such as porno or marijuana are going to have to forget about it for the sake of our internal security. A really mainstream guy from Minnesota who talked to me in the Copenhagen airport said if the terrorist network had been growing marijuana, they would probably have all been in jail already. Hey, great idea! Let's blame the "War on Drugs" for what happened. Then we can blame Reagan, who is fun to blame for stuff and can't remember what he did, anyway.

Meanwhile the luggage--remember the luggage--will have been taken from the passengers and taken to a room where video and audio is constantly running. Security people will look at your stuff without you having to stand there and get embarrassed. They can look at the stuff without being involved in some kind of a conversation where they either get distracted, get misled by some smooth operator, or make an incorrect judgment and waste time because the person is nervous, which everyone is when their luggage is getting searched. Corrupt agents who get caught pilfering or planting stuff because they are stupid enough to do it on film can be sent off to Algeria, Iran or Libya to have their hands chopped off. This might be a nice way to appease the militant faction that supposedly wants to kill and maim westerners. Our president says if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem--and who would have ever thought George Bush Jr. was going to paraphrase the Black Panther Party?--so obviously any security agent who really doesn't care about maintaining security can be fed to the lions.

Comfort should be one of the main considerations when designing these systems for travelers to go through. I could see the frequent flyer system being augmented, with passengers receiving extra credits for having a good attitude, being a good citizen and not trying to board a plane with a machete. Most folks who know me know that I am not the type who is wildly enthusiastic about security procedures and such, but I don't think getting on an airplane is like being at home in your living room or hanging out at your ranch. We have seen how dangerous planes can be when in the wrong hands, and part of it must be a symptom of our age, since somebody could have done this 30 years ago, but didn't. (Hey, does that mean we can blame rap music? Piercing?) Instead of fussing about security procedures for flying, just be thankful we don't have to go through them to get into our cars. Lots of lives could be saved if we did. If it makes life tough for heroin or cocaine dealers, too bad. Screw these guys. They can stop using planes, thereby removing another diversion for the security system.

Now you are on the plane, in your new much more comfortable and spacious seat where you have room to stretch out and sleep if you want on every flight, every time. One change you will notice is that the airlines will no longer serve food. A study can be made about perhaps serving food on long flights such as USA-Japan. People flying between America and Europe can surely have a nice meal before they board. Nobody likes the breakfast they thrust at you when you think it is two in the morning, or the gross pizza rolls they put in your face when you land in the USA and think it is late at night. Getting rid of the food service would have huge benefits. The stewards and stewardesses, who are really great people, can have a more advanced training in dealing with airplane flights and not be stuck in the role of glorified waitresses, minus the tips. Ditching food service would remove the problem of airport and airplane access involving thousands and thousands of workers who, because of the nature of the food service industry on any level, are bound to be difficult to properly security check all the time. The danger of knives, forks, a properly knotted napkin, a well-aimed olive with toothpick extended, the edge of a jagged Coke can, the noxious scent of mystery meat--all dangers we say bye bye to if food service is removed from airplanes. Can businessmen deal with getting on a plane for a few hours and not be served a drink and a bag of pretzels? Can they deal with anything? I think they can. I don't think they would care. They are the same people who get irritated when their kids insist on stopping for a drink and a bag of pretzels when they have been driving only about an hour or two.

Another way to improve the airline system is to improve the train system. If this was Europe, everyone flying from Greensboro to Atlanta, for example, would be taking a high speed train and enjoying it. The incredibly clogged Atlanta airport might be able to function effectively. Instead of losing everyone's luggage, they would be able to screen it all properly and make sure no death squads are getting on one of the planes. I really don't mind the idea of federal marshals or other security guards on planes. As a westerner, it reminds me of the guards that used to ride with the stage coaches so they wouldn't be attacked. That's the way things are now. Welcome. Enjoy. I'll try to write more later.

Best wishes!

Peace---out!

Dr. Chad

 

9/23/01

REPORT FROM DR. CHAD: HAN CANCELS

 
Hello everyone out there.  I made it back to the land of "the great Satan" from a 17-day tour of Holland, France, Denmark and Sweden which began on Sept. 3 and ended on Sept. 20.  Just about in the middle was the date Sept. 11, which has turned out to be a date and an event that everyone around the world will remember, the details of which they will never be able to get out of their mind.  Repercussions of this horrible slaughter and wanton destruction of property are spreading everywhere.  Of minimal importance in the scheme of things are the many performances and scheduled events that have been disrupted.  Just about any kind of travel between Europe and the USA has been affected.  I was not surprised to hear that the great drummer Han Bennink, to have been my playing partner in gigs around the USA between Oct. 1 and 9 or so, has cancelled his entire USA tour which also included solo performances in Texas and the west coast.
 
I am sure everyone is really disappointed by this.  Some of the organizers have wanted me to appear solo, but save for the Athens date, which might be rescheduled as a solo to allow me to take my daughter Lizzie to visit a friend in Macon, the rest of the schedule involved long drives and a car rental, all of which was going to be paid for by the Dutch government.  With the proposed fees cut in half but the transportation cost the same, and dropped into my lap, I could no longer mount this tour.  
 
It has become increasingly difficult for me to accept work in the United States as so little of it compensates for the travel expenses and time involved.  Many organizers have trouble understanding this, and seem upset that I am not in a hurry to travel dozens of hours simply to break even, or make a $50 profit. But it is a fact that as people get older and their lives change, the ability to deal with the music scene as it is in the United States just gets more and more difficult.  It is, to be sure, a young person's game. There will always be new generations eager to see the country and travel on their own dime, or in a break even situation.  And I hope music listeners out there will attend live events featuring new players in order to hear what they are doing, and to support it financially.  I am trying to shift my life into performing mostly in situations that I find acceptable to me at this point, rather than whatever happens to be available.   Although such situations are not limited totally to performances outside the United States, one might certainly get this impression from a random look at my schedule.  As it stands now, all the performances scheduled in 2002 and 2003 are also in Europe.  Every proposed tour on the books in the USA right now has been cancelled because the fees involved are minimal, or nonexistent. 
 
Part of the increased flexibility I now have has come from my involvement with the All Music Guide, and the fact that they are willing to pay me to do research on the world of musicians.  It has long been my belief that the forgotten players who are not "star" names are worth detailed research, and I am thrilled to be involved in something like this and to have been given the amount of freedom I have in this assignment.  I feel my activities in this area are just as important as any music I create on my own.
 
The events in the world at this time just make it more and more easy to think about staying home.  For the balance of the year, the only performance on the calender involving travel is the activities celebrating Jimi Hendrix in Italy later in October, in which I perform in a trio with Jimmy Carl Black and Pat Thomas.  I feel it is really important that I continue my role as an American ambassador of music and that the world at large will be able to remember the great things about America, such as the music of Jimi Hendrix, and not just what appears again to be our nation's role as a giant dropper of bombs.
 
I believe we are fighting an enemy that is every bit as evil as George Bush Junior and his speechwriters describe them to be.  The actions taken against innnocent travelers of the world and the wonderful, cosmopolitan city of New York are horrible.  Unfortunately, our politicians are letting the defense department lead them around by the nose, and instead of concentrating on security issues within our own country we seem about to embark on another foolish venture into military sports, without learning anything from a history that is so clear only an idiot would ignore it. 
 
Having traveled on countless airplanes, I would be perfectly happy if the police, the army, and my fellow passengers would dump the contents of everyone's luggage into a huge pile, to be slowly sifted through to make sure there is nothing dangerous in there.  Being on an airplane with a bunch of strangers, and nobody really to protect anybody, is one of the most frightening experiences I can imagine.  It goes on all the time, though, because our security procedures have always been inane, thoughtless, and an example of what the French philosopher Beaudrillard described as "simulation"--i.e., the appearance of an event taking place but nothing really being accomplished.  Anybody that isn't willing to be strip searched before boarding an airplane after what has just happened can fuck off, for all I care.  Perhaps air travel will suffer as a result, but it should.  It is obviously highly unsafe, and now that these geniuses of terrorism have demonstrated how a synchronized event such as this can take place, how long will it be before idiotic copycats with the IQ of someone such as Timothy McVeigh come along and carry out the same type of activity?
 
Ironically, the main reason Han Bennink didn't want to come to the USA was because he was unable to get a work permit, and would have had to pretend to be a tourist.  With the heightened scrutiny now in place involving foreigners, he would never have gotten away with it, because these people know when someone is lying.  However, if he was coming to take flight training, it now seems like it would be easier for him to get the proper permits then it is if he comes here as a performer..  Our government has established a "fast track" for arts-related work permits which involves paying an excessive fee, more than a thousand bucks as I understand it!  Going the normal way involves such a long amount of advance time that it makes it difficult to be sure the concerts one wants to do would be possible, as most organizers are not planning a year in advance. 
 
 
Many people are hoping for a quick fix or some sort to the problems in the world, but unfortunately I see none ahead.  What happened has happened because of generations of wrong-doing on the part of imperialist nations, leaving many people in a situation of hopelessness which fanatics prey on. We know this from our lives in the United States and the pressures that are continually brought to bear on our democratic freedoms and our rights as individuals by religous fanatics.  The secretive nature of the world's banking and financial infrastructure, created to help fund covert wars and generally make life easier for the world's important institutions such as the CIA and the Mafia, has turned around and bitten us on the ass, bigtime.  The ineptness of these very same security organizations as well as what could be simple security measures at our airports have just made terrorist activity all the easier.  The amount of weaponry available adds to the problem.  One year the security is looking for guns.  Then they have to focus on bombs.  Now we are told this all happened because nobody was looking for knives.   Perhaps there are positive sides to all this.  For example, will we hear speeches about needing a shield in space anytime again soon?  I don't think so.  The morons have been forced to look at reality for a change.  Obviously, this benefits their public image.  Someone like Mayor Guiliani comes across much better when serving as a strong image of comfort, then when taking on petty issues such as jay walking, double parking and guys hawking dollar joints on the streetcorners.
 
Part of the fallout from such tragic events is the amount of stupid stuff people write and say, as the media seems to have an endless demand for anything written by anybody.  I hope that my statements don't come off as part of this excess crap.  If so, I apologize.  I am not some genius with a solution to the world's problem, just a journeyman musician attempting to raise three daughters.  So far I think the stupidest things anyone has said are (1) the Falwell/Robertson comments, to no surprise and (2) Karlheinz Stockhausen's comment that this destruction of the World Trade Center was one of the great works of art of the 20th century.   (He didn't even get the century right.)   Some concerts of his in Germany were immediately shitcanned because of the uproar caused by this comment, which he tried to clarify in some jittery backtalking by saying musicians and composers give their whole lives to creating work, none of which could have the effect that a destructive event such as this might have on society as a whole.  The enlightened music public is no doubt already aware of the size of this guy's ego, I mean how many performers brag in their liner notes that they are fucking both the female members of a chamber trio they are in?   And perhaps Stockhausen is jealous he didn't destroy the World Trade Center himself, recording the results for his own label.  After all, there is a precedence for such activity in the arts. When I lived in Calgary, the Alberta College of Art paid performance artist Chris Burden $40,000 for an unspecified event which turned out to consist of him setting the school's parking lot on fire.  However, it just seems like another example of celebrities, which I use as a term to include politicians, using these disasters for their own benefit, in his case to make a typically cynical and obnoxious statement that gets him publicity.  If he is confused about society and the effect music has on people, he should read the part of my book I Hate the Man That Runs this Bar that deals with why serial murderers are more well known than artists.
 
 
I hope all of us are up to dealing with the events going on, and the ones to come that we can't even imagine.  Many of us are used to the USA's involvement with various tragedies: Vietnam, Somalia, Kosovo, all the Latin American incursions, etc, etc.  But this is really different, because the same stupid politicians and military bozos that lead the way in all the events are the same people that are now supposedly going to help establish security within our own land.  It is not about worrying about all the unjustified deaths in remote places everytime someone tries to blow up a bridge.  It is about being safe in our own cities, against an enemy that doesn't even have to identify itself.  Because there's no reason to.  Around the world, nations seem thrilled to have elected the most banal and mindless people they can.  The United States is a perfect example.  We have a complete idiot in charge, and no, nobody from any poll has called me for my opinion.  If they did, I would have two three words for them: I am scared.
 
 Eugene Chadbourne
Sept. 22, 2001

 

7/17/01

Gee, I am NOT on vacation!  I am just cutting down the number of live shows I am doing, especially the badly financed ones. I am really busy with a variety of stuff including a bunch of research and writing for the All Music Guide!

 

6/28/01

Click below to check out a review & pictures from Eugene's May 5, 2001 show in Houston, Texas

 

2/11/01

For those of you who read Italian, some links to a couple of articles & reviews of the recent  Me & Paul tour of  Italy...

 

1/15/00

HOUSE OF CHADULA YEAR FIRST YEAR REPORT INCLUDING NEW RELEASES FOR 2001!

Greetings everybody.  I would like to establish a traditional year-end report.  That way we can all keep track of the progress and realities of this venture. 

I have to say although year 2000 was one of the hardest-working for me in my life, and I am completely exhausted, it has been a great thing to finally get the kind of control I wanted over my releases including a permanent archive of activities over the last decades. I will continue trying to re-release those older recordings that people are looking for. 

Probably a lot of folks are curious; just how many copies of a CD can a musician sell simply through the internet, a few offbeat distributors and the merchandise table at gigs?  This is one of the main things I am trying to keep track of.  This is a complete reversal from the cassette series, where I went out of my way NOT to keep track of sales, not even to keep track of the names of the cassettes.  This time around every single sale or giveaway is being notated.  This means we can enjoy top 10s at the end of the year, and the musicians that play on these CDs will be able to see how many copies have been sold.

We have started paying royalties and although financial circumstances dictate we can’t get into this too heavily yet, the idea is to keep a running track of the situation so that eventually everyone will be compensated, or at least have an idea the type of royalties that accumulate.

I started the CD label right at the beginning of last year, although it really wasn’t functioning that well until the spring, when the website went up thanks to the tireless efforts of our “stomach fulla good Cajun cookin’” webmaster. 

Here’s how things worked out.  A total of 1531 CDs were sold; that is beginning with five titles available January 2000 to the number in the catalog at the close of the year (50 and counting.) 

TOP 10 BESTSELLERS       HOUSE OF CHADULA

1.  Me and Paul    (duo with Paul Lovens, live)   109 sold

2.  There’ll be No Tears Tonight  (C&W groundbreaker)   80

3.  Texas Sessions (see note below)  72

4.  Uncle Jimmy’s Master Plan    The Jack and Jim Show   59

 5.  Country Music in the World of Islam   w/Sun City Girls  51

6.   Pachuco Cadaver  More Jack and Jim!  47

7.   tie--  Kitchen Concert  The Chadbournes   47

8.   Jimi      The Hendrix tribute     42

9.   Horror Part Two Banned     42

10.  LSDC&W  double CD  The Chadbournes    41

Seems to me to be a pretty even distribution of new projects,  some of the best titles from the past,  and a shot in the arm for the reputations of some past collaborations, such as the duo with Jimmy Carl Black (the Jack and Jim Show) and the neglected Chadbournes, the pre-Shockabilly combo with more of an emphasis on country and free improv.  A nice side effect of the House of Chadula project is that it helps revive and promote some of the working groups;  The Jack and Jim Show goes back on tour this fall largely as a result of the enthusiasm for these re-releases and the new live CD, Uncle Jimmy’s Master Plan

Now for people with an interest in the less commercial side of Dr. Ch, of course I’ve compiled the

WORST SELLERS ON HOUSE OF CHADULA

1.  The Banjo Duet   Grote Scandal San Francisco  8  sold

2.   Termite Damage   from the Insect and Western series  12

3.  tie:   Original 7     13 sold

4.  Chadbourne Baptist Church vol. 3    13

5. tie:  Fuck the Audio Evolution Network   15

6.   You are in Bear Country   15

7.  Dinosaur on the Way   15

8.  Wombat on the Way    16

9.  Greetings from Pino and Bacco   17

10.  Seven Sisters      17

Notes:  Releases in the catalog that have already enjoyed a run as a mass-produced CD in an edition of 1000 or so may have sold in quite low numbers during their first year on my new catalog, but certainly shouldn’t qualify for a list such as above.

The heavy presence of titles from the old cassette catalog demonstrates that the crowd for these types of releases, although enthusiastic and pushy about getting new CD copies, is pretty small.  On the other hand,  titles such as numbers 5, 6, 7 and 8 have sold between 15 and 50 copies every year since the mid 80s, meaning by now they have sold close to a 1000 copies each.  Still, they wind up on this list because they deserve it. 

NEW RELEASES FOR 2001

New EDDIE CHATTERBOX series:

EDDIE CHATTERBOX ON BROADWAY   volume One

And EDDIE CHATTERBOX ON BROADWAY  volume Two

This new series will collect intimate solo performances of songs, many of them standards associated with Broadway or films.  However there is sometimes deviation from this as the situation warrants, for example Volume One includes a live performance of the original song, The Sky Got Flatter, which people have been requesting.

Songs on volume One:   I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face, It’s the Talk of the Town, The Sound of Music, I’m Glad there is You, The Sky Got Flatter, I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore, The Spring of Next Year, I Won’t Grow Up, Never Never Land and Lush Life.

Volume two: I Hear Music, Never Steal Anything Small (for George W Bush), There’s a Small Hotel, You Leave Me Breathless, Cock-Eyed Optimist, You’ve Got to be Carefully taught, It Might as Well Be Spring, Maybe, Little Girls, Love (John Lennon) and Peace on Earth (Coltrane)   This second volume is the first release of 2001 for me!

FROM THE ARCHIVE

1989 B   69TH SINFUNNY  by Camper Van Chadbourne :  This live set was originally released on a double album, has been out of print for quite awhile and is a request item from Marc, the “mao car” felluh who is freezing his gonads off up in Edmonton.  I like the idea of re-releasing this because (a) there is not enough Camper Van Chadbourne so far in this list and (b) several shreeves with wimpy taste complained about this when it came out, saying for example the Campers couldn’t keep up with me or the whole thing went on for too long, with too many weird noises between the songs, even that guest Bruce Ackley from Rova Saxophone Quartet “overdid” it. 

Coming soon:  New tour dates for 2001…

Other news:

I am honored to announce that the Austin Chronicle has named me Honorary Texan of the year 2000 for organizing the Doug Sahm tribute concert that led to the recording of Texas Sessions.

Steel pedal guitarist Susan Alcorn and I will collaborate once again in Texas next spring, this time with the backing of some members of the Texas Tornados, including one of Doug Sahm’s oldest friends, Ernie Durawa.

The other Honorary Texan of the year was Hank Williams III, so I am in good company.

Those of you who don’t know better ought to be reminded that our new president hardly represents the Texan vibe!

“Jazziz” magazine picked my collaboration with the Zu Band, The Zu Side of the Chadbourne, as the number 5 jazz release of the year. (A George Benson record was number one.)  This is intriguing because very few people in the USA have heard this recording.

Watch for these releases coming up in 2001:

“Psychadelic Doowop” by Camper Van Chadbourne, coming out on CD on Magnetic and as a double 10-inch vinyl project on Swamp Room.

“Ayler Undead”, my tribute to Albert Ayler’s music both solo and in trio with Joe Williamson, bass and Uli Jennison, drums, on Grob.

I am waiting for news about the new collaboration with Zu Band, which includes Motorhead and Black Sabbath covers.  Likewise watch for announcements of a new duo CD with Han Bennink, entitled “21 Years Later.”

Scheduled for House of Chadula in the upcoming months:

“The Malakoff Excavations”, duo recordings with Paul Lovens from the USA tour.

Eddie Chatterbox on Broadway, volumes 3 & 4.

Re-release of “Possibilities of the Color Plastic”  IF we get an okay from good ol’ Tosh Kondo.

Finally I want to announce that the fine Ellery Eskellin/Andrea Parkins/Jim Black trio has recorded two of my Insect and Western compositions from the Butterfly series on their latest Hat Hut venture.

More news soon!

Doc Chad

Click here for some new releases on House Of Chadula

And here's some news on additional new releases;
 
The Birth of Chadlocks and the Chadlock Population Explosion.
 
From "Ship to me" Lou we have the name Chadlock for all new releases, perhaps a reference to monstrosities born out of wedlock.  Of course I am aware of the danger of overpopulating the planet with Chadlocks, so we are choosing our new releases carefully, however one of our policies is, when possible, to release something just because someone asked us to. 
  
More Chadbourne stuff on other labels--

Chadlehn- C Inside (Grob), duo with Thomas Lehn on Synths.

 
Pain Pen (Avant) is out with the quartet of Dr. C, Mark Dresser, Susie Ibarra and Joe Morris.
 
Don't Punk Out (Quark), the duo with Frank Lowe is now out on CD re-release on the Emanem label.
 
Dim Sum, Dodgers and Dangerous Nights ( Volatile) is drawn from the spring 2000 collaboration between Dr. C and Edmonton's Vertrek Ensemble.  Beautiful recording, epic version of If I Were A Bell.

 

12/16/00

I realized I had left out some comments because of all the excitement or rather non-excitement involving the Between the Lines decision/indecision. (At least I didn't have to ask the Supreme Court to decide if I should sign their contract.)

I completely forgot to give more detail about the Hitchcock project in Milano, and have had plenty of questions about it. A trio consisting of myself, Ellio Martusciello and Walter Pratti created a new soundtrack for the film The Lodger.  I decided to bring only my banjo, since this was the only performance on the tour.  This is the first tour I have ever gone on packing only the five-banger.

Pratti had already created some electronic sounds for different sections of the film.  An event that was definately Hitchcockian prevented Ellio from attending the first rehearsal. He was on his way to Milano from his home in Roma but was delayed in the Parma train station because someone had committed suicide, throwing themselves in front of a train. When the train started moving again, Ellio said you could see some of the person's amputated limbs and other grisly debris outside the window, and just as the passengers were taking this in on came the sound system with an annoucement that the dining car was open again!

The next day Ellio played classical guitar at the first rehearsal, but told me at the second rehearsal in the venue that he was only going to play his CDs and mixer, so I adopted the classical guitar and played it as part of my contribution, good news to those who felt the banjo was uncharacteristic and didn't suit the movie.  I sympathize with this sort of criticism because I had felt the same way about the Keith Jarrett-style score the Maurizio Marsico group had come up with the night before for the comedy The Farmer's Wife.  But part of my mission in life is to insert the banjo into whatever areas people don't think it belongs--jazz, funk, electronic music, you name it--and I will carry on with this no matter what anybody says.

All these events were held in the Palazzina Liberty, a beautiful venue located in the middle of a park.  I was only a few blocks from the hotel. On the third night I attended the performance of Easy Virtue, featuring the duo of Tony Hymas and Evan Parker.  Evan played only three notes on the saxophone that night, sticking to CDs for his sound contribution. I was disappointed he didn't play his saxophone and am wondering whether the whole CD/mixer thing is a little too easy.  I had come to the gig that night without my House of Chadula box, and a guy who had been a good customer the night before came up and asked me where my CDs were, because his brother had come that night and wanted some stuff.

I told him I would go back to the hotel and get them, since it was so close by.  He stopped me at the door and offered a ride, which turned out to be funny because of all the one way streets, it took us nearly 20 minutes to get there.  In the meantime his brother had started wondering where the fuck my driver had gone to, but this being Italy he immediately called him up on his cell phone. "Where the hell are you?" "Going to Chadbourne's hotel."

Hilarious.  The final few days of the trip were spent with my pal Franco in Volta Mantovana.  He speaks no English, but with my pigeon Italian and a dictionary I was able to talk to him about complicated stuff such as the fact that I have a leaky roof and can't find anyone to fix it.

Now I am back from the California trip, parts of which were described before in my last entry.  I finished up back in the Bay Area where the Campers and I have a whole new project in the can, to be released on vinyl on Swamp Room, and on CD on Magnetic.  A Funkadelic cover is one of the highlights of this recording, as well as the neat instruments Jonathan Segel brought back from Vietnam and Cambodia, some of which in his virtuoso capacity he is already picking the hell out of.  We did a show at kind of dingy venue in the Mission district, the Makeout Room, but we got lots of CVC fans and everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I am not sure what Victor had in mind when he invited a weirdo named "Buggsy" to introduce us with a short musical interlude, one of the first things this Shreve did was toss his accordion on the cement floor as hard as he could, and I thought we were back to another Bay Area "I am an avant garde artist breaking instruments" trip, of which I have had enough to last a lifetime.  Victor threw him offstage but he wandered on later, during They Can Make It Rain Bombs, to ask Victor why he was thrown offstage. Victor didn't miss a note while yabbering with the guy and trying to get him offstage again, a sign of a good bass player.

 
More news coming!  Happy Hanukah!

12/06/00 

Since I last wrote I have been to New England, which is where I spent the non-election period,  back home, off to Italy for the Hitchcock soundtrack festival, back home, and then out to California where I am currently hanging until Dec. 11.

I hadn't played in New England in awhile so enjoyed the chance to visit both Northampton and Easthampton for gigs at Hampshire College and the Flywheel, respectively.  Small but enthusiastic crowds visited these gigs, including Thurston Moore and my old pal from British Columbia, Jack Tieleman, on the first night.  I got a kick out of staying in the Hampshire dorm co-operative housing units where there were up to a half dozen jars of peanut butter, individually labeled with various names of students.  The organizer at Hampshire told me a particularly disgusting story about a musician who I will not name, whose manager quoted a price of $8,000 for a solo concert, then dropped down to half that amount when
told the school's budget for the entire concert series was four grand.  Isn't it great how some musicians can happily live with the idea of gobbling up the entire budget for a year of concerts, just to put it in their fat pocket so the students only get to see one concert?  I mention this because it grosses me out and I have to get it out of my system. Good thing the guys in charge of this concert series passed on this kind of financial meltdown.

After my Easthampton gig we drove to another gig being held at a bowling alley featuring a free jazz trio of Thurston Moore, Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty.  Getting to listen to this band play while eating roast duck, and watching people bowl in a garish blue light through some windows was one of the funnest parts of this tour.  "I guess this is jazz, sort of," was a comment I overheard at the bar.

From there it was up to Vermont to play at the Signal to Noise space and spend a few days with Pete Gershon, our first personal encounter after about a year of interaction through the magazine.  This is a nice space to play and attracts an audience interested in listening, though again small in numbers.  The next night I sat in with the Jazz Mandolin Project which in contrast sold out a huge club with people hanging around trying to get in.  Why?  Don't ask me, I thought their music was on the wimpy side, though the band members were nice guys.  Most of this huge audience wandered around talking to each other,
occasionally wiggling a finger or buttcheek in reaction to the music. It wasn't really an event where I would say the audience was concentrating very hard on the sounds.

Pete drove me down to Boston where I played an in-store at the wonderful Twisted Village Records. Ironically Angela the proprietress was playing a Slim Gaillard side when I arrived; as you will see the Slim and Slam project that was upcoming this month was beginning to dominate my mind so I took this as a good sign.  Then we had the non election, and so by the time I played the show at Johnny D's solo and in duo with Joe Morris, we were already into this strange space of enjoying the chaos of the election debacle and the irony of having such a thing happen to such big jerks.  Since then of course we have experienced the ups and downs of this quasi national tragedy, and it is nowhere near over as I write this report a few weeks later.

Joe and I got together again the next day to record an all acoustic duo record, which hopefully will see the light of day next year somewhere, stay posted for reports.  Weather conditions delayed my return to Greensboro, but not seriously.  Then I tried to get some rest before the Italian departure, spending a few days watching and working on ideas for a new soundtrack for The Lodger. Thanks to my brother Badamino for supplying me with a beautiful handcolored print of this masterpiece.

As some of you may know I was by this time getting down to the line in setting up a contract with the German Between the Lines company, who had expressed a keen interest in my Slim and Slam tribute
project, to be recorded on this California trip with a group featuring myself, bassist Bertram Turetzky in the Slam Stewart role and the double brass punch of Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet and George Lewis, trombone.  I had been waiting for their contract to arrive, which it finally did the morning after I had first arrived in Milano.  What a shock to see this contract indicated the company was only planning to advance a third of the recording's budget, meaning it would be impossible to pay the musicians at the session.  This caused a temporary mutiny, of course, and began a stressful period of trying to arrive at a workable contract with this company and pull off the recording session that had been scheduled for Dec. 4-6 in Oceanside, California.

I had originally got in touch with this company when I heard an old cohort of mine, Franz Koglmann, was doing their A&R planning.  He was interested not only in this Slim and Slam project, but another dream
idea of mine, combining free jazz musicians with country session guys in Nashville.  I like Franz and know his heart is in the right place, but what I eventually realized was this company was NOT the place for Dr.
Chadbourne.  In the meantime though it took a lot of time and thinking to decide what to do, first there was a period where I managed to get the company to agree to advancing half the budget, meaning the musicians could collect not their whole fee at the session but enough to feel good about working for me... meanwhile I would be working for nothing and covering a lot of incidental expenses out of my pocket,  much like we used to do producing indie rock records in the '80s.  Even worse however was trying to negotiate the rest of the contract, a great deal of which was dedicated to the mission of getting yours truly Dr. Chad to stop releasing any other material during a six month period, which was supposed to be March through August of the year 2001.

"What? Do they know anything about you?" was a common response to friends of mine when they heard about this proposed contract.  I tried to get them to accept as exclusions to this contract all of my releases on the House of Chadula as well as a handful of projects that have already been recorded and may or may not show up as releases during this period--meaning the Ayler Undead project I have in the can for Grob, the new CD with the Zu Band that may or may not come out on Robi Drooli, the Shockabilly box set that is in the Knitting Factory can, still unreleased three years after we got paid for it, and the new Camper Van Chadbourne project we are recording next week which will show up as a double vinyl on Swamp Room, much along the line of the fantastically successful Young And Innocent Days.  And although the
powermeisters at Between the Lines approved some of these exceptions, they did not approve of me having my own label and that, ladies and gents, was the dealbreaker.  So there will be no Dr. Chadbourne on Between the Lines. But hopefully I may produce this Slim and Slam project on my own next year, I would certainly like to.   The decision about this lingered while I was performing at Freight and Salvage in San Francisco, Espresso Roma in Santa Barbara, the new Knitting Factory in LA and the City Hall Concert Series in Ventura....but finally in Ventura I decided I had to get out of this deal and so rejected the final version of the contract that had been sent to me.  What a relief, to make a decision over something that had been causing so much stress.

Of this last set of gigs I have to say Espresso Roma is a cool place to play, the best gig I have done in Santa Barbara, a nice friendly listening audience, and I dedicated I'm Glad There Is You to the Mr. Cool who bought 17 CDs!   As for the new Knitting Factory, it is My Gawd a fancy place with more televisions going at once than all the sets I have owned in my life; a huge staff, and a much more upscale atmosphere than either of the New York KFs.  It is also on Hollywood Boulevard, right in the heart of the Hollywood tourista hype.   I think every single person that came to my gig was there as a result of this website, the club itself is attracting zero per cent of the hip musician crowd that usually lines the walls of a gig I do in LA.   So I am not sure that this would become any kind of regular stop for me in LA,. next time around I will go back to the smaller venues that I like more. Although many players have had bad experiences and misunderstandings with the staff there, I generally got along all right except for a house manager who breezed in and announced they were going to keep 20% of my merchandise money,  adding briskly "I will send someone in to inventory your merchandise."  I toughed it out with the guy and he quickly changed
his mind about dipping his hand into the Doc's pocket....watch out, buddy, there are alligator teeth in there waiting to chomp on your fingers.

Ventura's musical treasure Jeff Kaiser added an extra gig at the Rockit Fuel Coffeeshop, doing two duo sets, the first one an extended medley based on Eddie Cochran riffs, in homage to the coffeeshop's '50s theme.

Next day I started heading up the coast. Right now I am lingering in the San Luis Opisbo area, catching up with my old pal Charley Goodman and enjoying nice weather down at the Pismo beach and Grover beach.  Soon I will continue north to San Francisco, to catch up with Camperoonies Jonathan and Victor and begin working on our new Psychedelic Doo Wop album.   More news later, in the meantime here is
the up to date Dr. Chad doings for next year--


10/26/00
Sadly enough, we have sent Paul and Suzy Creamcheese back to Deutschland, packing vintage bottles of Van Winkle bourbon as well as souvenirs from Rothko Chapel, the Alamo and N'Orluns. As with any trip through America, a varied bag!

We made it through the two week trip with only a small scratch on the rental car bumper created by Paul's monster percussion case.  But with the Dr., 'the master of the touch up', this was no problem whatsoever.  We drove from Greensboro west through Tennessee and Arkansas down through Texas, then swung over

by way of Houston to New Orleans and back north through Alabama and Georgia before winding up the tour with a couple of gigs in the local area. 
 

Yes, Paul got his drum case from the airlines, which was missing at last writing. And we managed to have the required drums provided at every gig without fail. This along with all the other details of the shows, (including PA system which also includes microphones, the concept of which should include a stand and a cable to plug it in, but doesn't always) was all part of the epic nature of 15 gigs in 16 days. And like just about every one of my epic tours since I started doing this, I wind up wondering sadly about how small the audience is, time and time again, in so many of the towns.

    

Since Shockabilly's first trips to Texas to tour with the Butthole Surfers in the '80s, I have always noticed the same feeling to a trip that starts out in North Carolina and leads to Texas, and I am sure it would be the same would the itinerary be jumbled up around different parts of the country.  Once one gets to Austin, everything is cool and there is a large crowd.  In our case we also did fairly well in Houston and in San Antonio, where I am told very few improvisers set foot.  (It is only the Rake that got me my popularity in SA--its a heavy metal town.)

But the road to Texas leads through lots of towns in which case one is lucky to get 30 people at a gig.  One of these towns had a population of two million, but less than 20 folks at the gig.  Yes there has been a change in some of these places but it unfolds at a pace that would make a Paul Bley blues sound like Hardcore Acid House.  And in some towns I wonder whether an era I saw as the beginning of cultural awareness actually represented the climax of such activity and things have been downhill since then.

I think Paul and Suzy went away with a pretty good idea of what it is like to tour and perform in the United States.  Since they were in a tourist mode and Paul loves to play the drums every night, they had a really good time.  Paul really gave plenty of music to whoever showed up each night, and was generous in the time he gave talking and playing with local players.  He is not a showoffy, stuck up kind of guy. 

As I drove through the itinerary I thought about the changes over the years, for example all the times Shockabilly drove to Texas and would have loved to have done a gig in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"If we could have stopped here, the drive would have been cut up perfectly," quoth drive-the-van-man David Licht at a 4 am gas stop in Little Rock, I recall. 

Then the so called cultural era began around I would say 1987, a guy named Benny Turner got the booking rights and budget from a big combination seafood place/nightclub.  The place was swell and I got to come through for beefy, $300 plus meal guarantees, and did shows for probably up to 100 people. Out of that audience I built up a dozen or so absolute fanatic fans, most of whom are my chums after a dozen or so visits to Little Rock.  The situation has of course deteriorated back to the point where the guy that wrote the advance article had to be pressed into bringing the PA (he forgot, but some of the arriving chums were happy to hop back into their vans, trucks and whatnot and hustle up enough stuff to pull off a show) and we had to even print in the article that we needed drums because nobody would lend us any, one local drummer said Paul should fuck off when he read his drum specifications. And we wound up having to rent the drums for $30, which was more than a fifth but less than a fourth of the door take.  The Little Rock audience now always consists of the same dozen people plus maybe two or three new people, and that it the situation whether I play there every year or every five years. 

 
Some towns have more infrastructure in place in terms of venues and equipment and fanatics willing to promote, but also only 20 or so people show up.  It is a running joke to tell Europeans that the situation in America has vastly improved for improvised music, than as they wait for details say instead of only five people interested, now there are 10, but the funny thing is that it isn't really a joke.  This difference in bodies has actually led to opportunities to perform in some cities where there were none before, and the combined list of cities where it might be possible for someone to perform now in the states is certainly enticing.  Put it together with a map and you have the makings of your own vikerouc experience
in America, and plenty of foreign artists seem to be doing this now.

From what I hear, some playing to audiences of much less than 10 people,  in fact I have heard reports of people playing to nobody. Just remember this is your time to make your music and enjoy seeing the country. Paul and Suzy certainly did, a fax came in as I was writing this, and who would have thought the antics of our lecherous, dimwitted dachshund Otto would have seemed to Paul to be the "cherry on top of all that delicious pudding."  This is not the first time Otto has entranced visiting musicians, let's not forget the Monks of Doom recording the ditty "Otto's Penis is Big" with one of my daughters singing (they both take the credit but nobody can really remember who it is).

 
 Much of the trip I will recall through the shorthand that developed. After passing exits for Malakoff, Texas, Paul said "Fuck off, Malakoff" and this became something of an all-encompassing philosophy, spreading from Malakoff being used to describe those drivers that pass you and then slow down, or drive too slow in the passing lane, or weave around you, to anyone that does anything inept to the entire threshold of incompetence. "This place has a Malakoffian stink to it." 
 
Good old Pedro in Austin gave us a CD of country death songs, only one of which really excited us, the dreaded Psycho Mama, which I had heard for years but never played and Paul instantly demanded we cover, going so far as to chant "Ma-ma" when he wanted me to go into it.  Patrons at a couple of gigs even had the pleasure of hearing and seeing Paul mumble/sing "ma--ma" during the choruses, and whether this will mean we will be seeing Paul Lovens, selected drums and cymbals, Stradivarius saw and VOCAL credits, will wait to be seen.
 
Some of the songs on the compilation Pedro gave us were so out to lunch, however, it led to the expression "Oh Pedro!" when one has perhaps gone too far. 
 
Was it any coincidence, or perhaps something of an Oh Pedro, that the lone copy of National Geographic lying around for shreeves to peruse at Natural Mystic Coffee Company in Asheville contained an article about The Malakoff Digs?  We ripped off the magazine so watch for Malakoff references in upcoming Me and Paul CD releases, of which there will be some....at least a half dozen nice live recordings from this tour.

Like any tour, the cast of characters one encounters on the way is rich not in funds but fun; maybe not famous but certainly infamous. On this tour there were many folks that are almost part of an annual ritual with me; I drive in, make some music in their town and we catch up on goings on.  Returning to Louisville, Kentucky, for the first time since cutting the Young and Innocent Days project. The aforementioned gang of usual suspects in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The wacky Kara at the Springwater in Nashville, where Suzy went into the car to change her shirt after first entering, because "too many men, and such a dive."  Kara was the Germans' introduction to the new all purpose American excuse for everything, including dropping the bomb on Nagasaki: "My bad!" (In this case, her "bad" was allowing us to think she had microphones just because the club has a PA system and mike stands.)  Nick's wonderful rooming house in New Orleans, which of course comes complete with the host's long, involved, fascinating raps.  The typical lunacy of Birmingham, not only Davey Williams getting the world's nastiest sound out of his guitar, but nutcases doing action painting on the floor while we performed. 

 
Of course the star of the show, as always, was the scenery--the Mississippi River, the cajun bayous, the Gulf Coast. I did all the driving, and any European musicians out there who think they can get me to take them on the same tour, just be sure you play as well as Paul Lovens before you ask me. 

I'll wind up with two of Suzy Creamcheese's great comments about the USA (this was her first trip.)

 
Her reaction to downtown Knoxville. "In Germany, when one sees buildings like this, it is always because of damage from the war. But there was no war here. What happened?"

On Texas: "A beautiful view. But nothing to see."


10/4/00
European Invasion.
 
The invasion of European percussionists into my life has begun and continues tonight with the arrival of Paul Lovens, already delayed one day because of lightning striking the Berlin airport.  Is this connected with the Jewish new year?
There is a G-d!
 
Anyway Paul and Susanna should show up tonight, safe and sound I hope. I shall greet them at the Triad International Airport round about midnight.
 
Meanwhile let's go back to where we left off, in the last message I was in the BvHaast office in Amsterdam, and for some reason forgot to report on the end of that tour, the delightful Fiets Fest held in the north of Holland, environs of Gronigen.  Gigs take place in a selection of barns and churches for the most part, scattered around about a 10 kilometer area.  We were in a vehicle, others biked but I think on foot one would have missed most of the gigs.  Me and Paul played in a barn at the end of the day and Paul's daughter Anselma let loose with a jungle rumble of drums during pack up time.  Earlier in the day I heard a great gig with Paul/Cor Fuhler and tenor titan Tobias Delius.  Great one!  The Dutch Western Swing band we heard had some fantastic arrangements and was enjoyable, but actually never did swing.  There were a lot of other fine concerts going on and it was impossible to hear everything at once.  Weather was great and a tip o' the hat to Volcmar and Coreen for driving me back and forth from Amsterdam and to Chadbourne body-double Marcel Roelofs for booking Me and Paul into the event.
 
Then it was back home where things have been going at a pace so hectic it would be hard, probably sickening to describe.  Good stuff, though.  First it was meeting Han Bennink in Nashville, where he was tucked away in an apartment on the edge of town, highway heading toward Memphis, keeping company with a frisky Collie.  For the next week we did gigs in Nashville, Asheville, Raleigh, Durham, Columbia and Atlanta.  The last three were the most successful.  I forgot Colonel Hampton's advice to "never play Raleigh", only about 30 people showed up here. Asheville was worse where Han and Suzanne from Bvhaast got to experience the grungy apathy of the crowd that hangs around the Natural Mystic Coffeeshop.  Yikes!   The fuse blew on Dave Doyle's Fender Twin amp after 20 years of playing during the Nashville show, and strangely enough the 24-hour "gig emergency" service was no longer running, somebody from the audience had to drive off and get an amp for the second set. (Go toe to toe with Han Bennink without an amp? Not me, buddy!) And I mean toe to toe literally, he keeps putting his feet up on the drums.
 
I would like to write a more extended account of the week with Han when I have time...but I am not promising that this will appear during this decade.  Being around him was a great inspiration, as it always has been.  Hearing his views on life in America while driving him around was also fun, I gotta say I agree with him that we are scared to death and practically a third world nation.
 
Han headed up to New York and then I had a weekend of activity in the Midwest, a gig both solo and with country bank Noahjohn backing me up in Madison, and then a solo gig at Chicago's Intuit Gallery which I really enjoyed. Whether it was a treat for the latter audience or not I don't know, but I brought along a couple of dozen of my paintings to hang behind the stage, seeing as this was an Outsider Art event and all. 
 
Next reports will focus on the two week trip with Paul and Susanna across the Smokies to Knoxville and Louisville, onward through Nashville and Little Rock to Texas, New Orleans, etc  The two exhausted Germans are currently asleep in our back guestroom,  the dreams of Lovens probably full of apprehension over what might have happened to his drums, of course lost by the airlines. (United, as in you and your luggage will not be.)
9/4/00

Greetings from Amsterdam!

I flew into Amsterdam just about two weeks ago and had one day to recuperate before heading off to the new tour, specifically to the town of Freiburg near the German/French/Swiss borders so that the staff of the French Mulhouse festival could pick me up without dealing with Swiss customs.

Trip over couldn't have been smoother, with perks such as a whole empty row to myself on the plane and a Pink Floyd "saver's card" falling due on the morning I arrived in Amsterdam.  

Mulhouse fest had most of the musicians lodged in a fine big hotel directly across from the train station.  An enormous circular park decked out with lush flowers seperated the two buildings so it was a pleasing vista to the eye from my front window.  Here was my location for three days and a chance to catch up with all kinds of old friends as the fest's bookings were rich.  Asahif Tsahar in trio with Le Quan Ninh on percussion and Peter Kowald on bass was hot stuff, of course Ninh totally stole the show.  I enjoyed also hearing the band Mujician, with Keith Tippett, Paul Dunmal, Paul Rogers and Tony Levin. Some of my favorite festival events over the years seem to revolve around Tippett, who still hasn't gotten rid of the mutton chops he grew the day he left home.

Of course Me and Paul had a fine set, we got to play before Mujician.  I didn't do a whole lot in the town of Mulhouse, breakfast and lunch meetings with musician friends wound on and also spent a lot of time at the House of Chadula merchandise table which sometimes even attracted musical hangersout, on the final night we had Mats Gustaffson, Lovens, Tsahar and others were enjoying watching the weirdos who buy my Cds.

From Mulhouse I had a short trip to burn where I presented solo in a new venue, the small cafe Kairo, whose owners live in the apartment building upstairs.  I have never seen so many pot plants in one neighborhood before, there were even little plants starting as weeds in the cracks around flowerbeds from
various discarded seeds. 

The show was sold out and it was fun to see some of my Bern pals such as the infamous revolutionary Sandro, who told me of the latest doings with the town's Reithalle, whose existence in the future is up
for a vote again soon.  Currently the occupied venue is less than occupied as the city has been paying for
a new roof, although they might turn around and turn the whole thing into a shopping mall...

Then, the day I had been looking forward to for so long.   Sicily.  I departed Bern at 5:30 a.m. but the smooth connections stopped cold at the anarchistic Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, where I found out my Air Sicilia flight was going to be five hours late.  Luckily I had some good books by Patricia Highsmith and Shirley Jackson to keep me company while the various Sicilian families went wild all around me.  It meant a famished landing in Palermo at midnight, but landing in Sicily hungry is smart, it was a quick stop at my headquarters, Hotel Ponte, and then on to a pizza with ruggola and granna, but the news was that I wasn't going to be allowed into the Sicilian prison the next day, there had been a bureacratic foul up with some signature lacking so my planned upon program including There but For Fortune and Breaking the Law Every Day was not to be.

It did mean that I had the whole day free to explore Palermo.  What a place...loud, chaotic, dusty, falling to pieces, built into eternal majesty, really wonderful.  The open market fulled of gutted sheep and
zucchiinis the length of my banjo neck. 

The heat!  The Curva Minore festival was held in a really awesome spot, a partially ruined, partially
restored cathedral, Saint Mary of the chains, I think, there are so many Saints of this and that here that it
is hard to keep it straight.  We played on an altar with a domed ceiling very high above, and open air... pigeons took a dump on Paul's cymbal and snare drum and I was delighted with his decision not to
clean this off, it seems like some kind of important message. (Especially that they met me).

On the first night saw David Moss for the first time in years, he was in town for a theatre piece.  Also hanging around was Alvin Curran, Roberto Massotti who is back taking pictures of jazz after a few years with La Scala.  Speaking of photos an exhibit by a photographer who used to hang around backstage during Fellini films as well as other productions in Italy was really fantastic, including many casual shots of Marcello M, Sophia Loren, Virna Lisi, Gregory Peck,etc.

Of course the food in Palermo was perhaps a highlight, although I think the ultimate experience of the place was the morning I left when the hot Sirroco wind from Africa was blowing, full of sand and intensely hot, like nothing I have felt before. Twice ate sword fish--spada rosta--done in a garlic, olive oil sauce. Enjoyed seeing a cooking technique where meat and fish is hammered totally thin and flat, then rolled up around a piece of bamboo and grilled...eating it is even more fun. Some great pastas including farfalle with cherry tomatoes, rugola and grana (farfalle con trio colores) and a fettucini in a lemon sauce, also of course spaghetti, once with shrimp and pumpkin sauce.

Yes it was a drag leaving Sicily...I hope to come back.  Don't forget to mention the marionette museum,
another highlight of Palermo.

But when one's destination is Amsterdam? Oh well.

This time the trip was accomplished in 13 hours, whereas Bern to Palermo had taken 18. CDG airport almost managed to lose both the Goodtime banjo and the Marauder guitar, but they were found in a heap.  This airport also misplaced all the ICPOrchestra's instruments on a trip to Portugal, and on the way back.

Now I am in the BVHaast office in Amsterdam listening to the news that the ICP's Los Angeles concert was cancelled because Mike Dorff forgot to provide a piano for Misha Mengelberg!
    
So the road goes on, chaos and stupidity mixed with beauty like a fine sauce. which we luckily eat only symbolically.

  ---  more soon


8/15/00

Well, summer is winding down, the kids are getting ready to go back to school, this is all I hear anybody talking about.   For me the summer is continuing at least few more weeks as I carry on with the program of summer European jazz festivals that Me and Paul were invited to this year.

 When we last left off we were returning to the fabulous Club 2 in Munich for the third time this year; this end of May show was lots of fun especially one of Paul Lovens’ friends from his desert-by-camel excursions (sounds fun and I would like to try it) who has a keen interest in whisky, showed up with a nice bottle of it, and inspired a medley of Whisky and Women and Willie Nelson’s signature song Whisky River that made a grand show closer, although there were probably five encores, this being Munich.

From there I headed back to France; it seems this was the summer of bizarre weather and strange train breakdowns across Europe, but this trip went smoothly with me parked in front of a fine Cous Cous Royale before 8 pm rolled around.  There was a small rendezvous with the young musicians coming in for the Ernest Tubb Memorial Band show; punk viola queen Eeena Ballard and the San Francisco-based bassist Ashley Adams.   Next day I took House of Chadula ware to several cool Paris record shops, particularly nice is the weird Bimbo Towers tucked away in a side, side street in an offshoot little neighborhood, full of not only music and books but some souvenirs that they also carry at Conway Twitty’s shop in Nashville.

That night was the duo with drummer Erick Borelva at Les Instants Chavires after a solo set.  The guy went over me like a tank but I understand there is a good tape of the event.  Congratulations to Erick who just gave birth to his second child.

Eeena Ashley and I ventured on to Nancy and the Action 2000 Festival the next day.  In all my years of train travel, here was something I had yet to witness, a group of people refusing to give up the seats they were in (our reservations!) despite half the folks in the car yelling at them about it.  It was two women and a child, and I felt bad they were behaving so rudely in front of their child.  When the conductor showed up the jerks had to leave. 

We hooked up with pedal steel Kansas boy Nate Hofer at the Nancy train station, he had a good trip over, and had arrived in Paris to discover he had left all the phone numbers he needed back in Kansas.  Not being in Kansas anymore, he carried on up to Nancy where he found a cheap hotel and then an internet café where he could communicate with the festival via e mail.  I don’t know what we used to do during such a fuck up in the pre cyber days; I think it involved wandering the streets randomly hoping one would stumble upon the venue.

The Nancy festival venue is actually out in Vandouevre, part of an arts and performance complex and a collection of modern apartments that are set together in an uncharacteristic suburb, looking more like regime-era Czech architecture than anything French.  It’s a fun hang and we got to see some good music including Konk Pack and a workshop conducted by Phil Minton.  I think of the two shows I did, the duo set with Me and Paul was the best received, but Victoriaville honcho Michel told me the last twenty minutes of the Ernest Tubb Memorial Band set were perfect.

I wish I hadn’t missed the 24 hour concert by the Mimeo electronic orchestra, one of my favorite groups these days, but it was fun picking out the people who had either played or attended, all gray and groggy from lack of sleep and overexposure to weird noise.

I spent a few days in Amsterdam after the festival was over before heading home, among other things doing some negotiating about the purchase of a large scale CD duper previously owned by Staalplaat.  Now that I am writing this, the machine is safely in my home and currently printing a copy of an Eddie Chatterbox CD.  But it took all summer to get the machine here, including a stopover of several weeks in Portland where it was seized by Portland customs agents. 

Back in Greensboro there was a lot of time spent cleaning up the wreckage in my yard from the tornado that had hit in early May.  This was hard work and really aggravated my tendentious, which has gotten worse and worse all summer. I really should not be typing this at all, I should put my arm back in a sling, but everyone is dying to know what is new so I press on.

 In early July I tried a little solo show at the Gate City Noise store, which used to be Crunchy Music.  The stage is nice and lots of old friends came but the system with donations is cheap and only about $50 came in. Not a cool situation for the doc! But I will try to keep setting up some gigs in Greensboro. 

The second week in July was Chadfest in New York City.  The solo show at DMG, was as I expected, hot and sweaty and intense.  I went to sleep for 10 hour straight when it was all over.  The week carried on with three different duos plus the trio with

Mark Dresser, contrabass and Kevin Norton,l drums. The latter was most of the fanatic’s choice for the best set of the collection, although I also was really fond of the duo with Miya Masaoka, and the Sunday night duo with Dresser was great.    My favorite trio had to be the eating group of myself, Miya and Susie Ibarra, we hit a late night Japanese spot in the East Village.Thanks to Alan Mack, old buddy, and his friend Zeke who brought his dobro along for me to play.  Some tapes will be examined from this fest to see if there is some good material for release. The duo tape with Guy Kluscevek came out blank, unfortunately, probably poetic justice since there had been ten times as much e mail communication and 100 times more rehearsing for that duo than any of the others.

 I finally got invited to a fixture on the Greensboro scene, The Onion Cellar, which is a little rehearsal space where gigs sometimes happen. It is neither a cellar nor a repository of onions, but I played the last set of the night and was quickly joined by jammers, some of them members of bands that had played previously. I heard all the sets and was interested to see something different than rock-type music being played in what I had been told was a punk rock club.  This was more instrumental music with electronic effects, some of which reminded me of Satie.  It was a friendly atmosphere, many of the audience members hanging out on the street in front of the place.  I don’t know if it would be the spot for a full out improv event if one was going to try and attract an audience that expanded beyond the group of friends that hang out here.

Only a few days after this I was back to France for the Fruits de Mhere festival with Me and Paul, I was surprised that I hadn’t really examined where it was I was going and wound up in a completely different region than I thought I would be.  People say this is one of the best summer festivals in France, and I can see why in terms of the setting, the organizers place everything in the grounds or vicinity of the rambling large farmhouse they occupy right on the village’s main square.  Population of Mhere: 250 people, very few of which like this festival.    Concerts took place in several different tents that were comfortably dry during monsoon type rains; there were also some outdoor gigs, one in the church, and a nightly solo series with superb turntable guy Martine Terrault in the living room of one of the neighbors. (I jammed with Martine one night.) 

Again we heard Konk Pack as well as a good set by The Ex, some of which Martine and I played along with through the open window.  I heard AMM live for the first time in my life; it was a really great experience.   The slow build and control of the music was remarkable. Near the end, there was a jingling sound that I thought was a shreeve in the audience jingling the change in his pocket, wanting to jam.  When I realized it was a dog scratching his collar I felt better about it, realizing it was more of a natural exchange.

I was sick this week with a cold, and the weird hot/cold/rainy weather made things uncomfortable for me, but I still had a really good time. 

The final set of the festival by the Estonian rockers Nzejdali was interruptus by a snake that got in the transformer!  I had thought it would have to be sabotage with so many disgruntled farmers in the area.

Stopped in Paris on the way home for some good food, since everything at the fest had been boiled to death by the chef.  The cheese from nearby farm was scrumptious, however, and I hope all the musicians have gotten over their stomach disorders from inhaling so much of it.

Back in the USA there was also a stopover in NYC for a gig with Susie Ibarra at Tonic.  It was good to have a night to wind down in the East Village after a travel hell day, the Air France airport people all decided to strike so my flight and all the others leaving Paris for the states were handled by a kind of second-unit, improv group that despite good intentions created incredible chaos.

I enjoyed the music with Susie and am looking forward to tapes done by Robert O’Haire and his lab assistant Thierry.  Now there is a respite at home while I gear up for Me and Paul in three quite different festival spots—Mulhouse on the border of France and Switzerland—Palermo in Sicily!--and finally the Fiets festival, Gronigen, Holland, where the audience hikes from event to the other, sometimes drowning out the music with their panting.  


MAY 28, 2000- MUNICH GERMANY

I pulled into town a day early in order to use my pal Ivi's computer at the fabulous Club 2, where Paul Lovens and I perform tonight before moving on to France. Since I last wrote the big Chadbourne/Olga Vogala concert happened in Ghent, to some people this was the ultimate Chadbourne event, I had an e mail from a longtime Dutch fan and music enthusiast who said it was his favorite concert ever, of all concerts he has ever seen. It certainly is a spectacular instrumental line up as described in previous entries and I think overall the performance was quite succesful, although of course it wasn't perfect...there was the matter of the mysterious section 11, which was missing in all the scores when bandleader and first violinist Wouter copied them from the original, but we had inserted copies of 11 in everyone's score at rehearsals but then they vanished mysteriously at the performance...so there was an akward moment when I realized all 22 of us were lost, in different places, some already starting section 12...I am also upset with myself for forgetting to announce a moment of silence in the memory of section 16, which was never written. Oh well...

Olga Vogala (this name comes from the first Dutch word ever found written down) is an amazing group which to my knowledge has rarely played outside Belguim.  It evolved slowly up to its present size, in fact getting them all together at rehearsals also developed slowly with me in doubt that they were all ever going to show up. Of course, I am always in doubt about everything. The rehearsal process unfortunately caused me to lose track of my careful coffee regimen I had established (no more than 2 cups a day) and by the time I got back to Amsterdam I was having serious health problems as a result of too much caffiene. I have had almost my last cup of Joe although I am still sipping a bit here and there in order not to constantly have to explain to people that I am not drinking it anymore.  The organizers of this event, Ghent's Voorhuit centre, particularly Wim Wabbes and his assistant Eva DeGroot
(yes, this means, Eva the Great in Dutch) get my big big thanks for helping create such an ambitious project for me.  I hope soon to hear the recording of "Variations" or perhaps be able to reassemble to create a studio version or a complete CD with this group. We also played several of the group's numbers as well as an encore for Swinging Doors by Merle Haggard. It was frustrating not getting to hear many of the other gigs at this festival because of the busy rehearsal schedule. I did get to hear Iva Bittova with her new band which was a little slick for me, although the numbers she did with a children's choir were delightful. Breakfast every morning with the smiling Japanese vocalist Haco was a delight, at other breakfasts there was reminiscing with Bob Ostertag, my first meeting with Catherine Janeiux and her son...the surviving members of Tom Cora's new family...and best of all a quick breakfast with Misha
Mengelberg, who told me he is still cleaning his bathtub out after I used it 25 years ago.

Then it was back to Amsterdam where Toshinori Kondo and I got together to discuss some possible future projects, and life in general.  The next day I got together at the BVHaast headquarters with Susanne to discuss Han Bennink's invasion of North Carolina, slated for Sept. 10-17...I am really excited about this, it is definately happening and dates will be announced soon..

Back in the USA for a week--what a weird lifestyle. Things are incredibly busy with House of Chadula and a massive order of homemade CDs from Disk Union in Japan.  Spent most of the week assembling packages and mastering.  Then back to Amsterdam to quickly grab instruments and head to Germany's Leer, right across the border from the Dutch town of Gronigen, While this was going on, a tornado hit Greensboro and turned it into a
disaster area, completely unreported on any news. At Lizzie's school some cars were cut in half in the parking lot by falling trees. No major damage to the Chadbourne estate.  Back in Leer, I met up with Paul Lovens and we performed that night and the next in the flabby Ruhr town of Dortmund...after that I have traveled onto Koln
for some business and now am in Munich. Weird things have been happening on the train trips, on that first day going to Leer it was complete chaos getting out of Amsterdam because of some unexplained problem in a tunnel near the Schipol. Yesterday something happened around Duisburg because of a storm and practically every train heading east was cancelled...amazing thought that despite all this I got to Munich only 15 minutes late.

That's it for now, stay tune for news about the Action 2000 festival in Nancy-Vancouevre, including the first European performance by the Ernest Tubb Memorial Band.


MAY 8, 2000

I will keep this brief since this Belgian keyboard is driving ME CRAZYYY OOPS>l:flfldkfldkf$µqlds

I am now comfortably settled into Ghent; Belguim for a six day residency:::I meet the nominal leader of the Olga Volgala band; Wouter; in the bar of the Voorhuit venue this afternoon to begin preparations to rehearse Variations for 22 musicians--

4 violins
Viola de gamba
Contrabass
Dobro
Diatonic accordian
sitar
hurdy gurdy
2 percussion
wood flute
bari sax
alto sax
clarinet
trumpet
4 vocalists
and me makes 22

More news on this progresses:

Delightful weekend in Amsterdam with blazing hot sunny weather:  Volcmar Verkerk and I, known together as The Banjo Duet; recorded a brand new CD of duets on acoustic instruments for release in the House of Chadula series:::

seeya     Dr; CHAD


MAY 4, 2000

Greetings from Amsterdam, and here comes an update to the tour news....

I am in Amsterdam now at the Haringpakker following the conclusion of the Italian Motorhellington tour with the Zu Band, and my part in the two day Albert Ayler tribute concert  at the Stadtgarten in Koln, part of the long Koln Trienalle festival.

Since my last dispatch...we recorded the following tunes in Rome, down the street from the great pizza place..

Sacrifice, Iron Man, Chain of Fools, Sex Machine, Corvocado, Pushin Too Hard, Boogie Stop Shuffle...

May 1 was the big May Day show, 5,000 people attended. Also on the bill, Leatherface from the UK all with matching dyed blonde hair (road manager had red) and The Frumpies from Olympia.   Our 8 pm set actually started at 10 pm.  The Merle Haggard number we played for the first time together, Swingin Doors, went over absolutely the best with this big crowd, ("they went mad for it," I was told) but the whole show was a cooker after a day watching the crowd swell from about 20 people....the setting an occupied fortress with hills surrounding on all sides, the corridors and big outdoor lawn filling with partyers...joints being rolled everywhere you looked, lots of drinking, dogs, fights, nothing that serious...no police anywhere.   Stayed in a neat area of Rome near the beach that was close to the airport and started a painting of the ruins at the Osica Antica, which I passed several times in cab rides after regretting that the schedule had been too crowded to allow any viewing of ruins...thanks!

Koln musical experience was wonderful, a rich dose of the Ayler magic and a chance to start a new trio with Joe Williamson on bass, some may know him from Kletka Red or The Tolias Delius Quartet, and I know less about the drummer, Uli Jamieson but he is a fantastic player and we played the following tunes of Ayler, trying to get with the spirit.  I felt good, like it was coming from my gut.  But even better for me was the rehearsal/studio session which we recorded the night before....

Prophecy/ Infinite Spirit/ Truth Goes Marching In/  Witches and Devils/Light in the Darkness/  Omega is the Alpha/ Change Has Come

We will probably get this trio back together in the fall, and add C&W to the repertoire.  Gotta come up with a better name than the Trienelle did, "The Eugene Chadbourne European Trio."

next stop---Pink Floyd,

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