Monday, June 25, 2012

A Good Gig

I'm posting a photo from the sound check at Saturday's Up River Band gig at Brady's Brewhouse in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

I think Judy did a nice job of capturing the artist and his fine rig:

The Artist and his rig.

In this case, the Artist's rig consists of:  his axe, a home-built Telecaster copy with some handwound Travis Morris pickups in it; his amp, a Savage Macht 12x head powered by vacuum tubes over a 1x12 Savage bottom sporting a Mojotone BV-30 speaker; his unseen pedal board sporting a variety of foot pedals designed to enhance his tone mojo; and a Shure SM57 microphone.  That's all a lot of nonsense if you don't wield an axe, but maybe I'll get around to that if I get on a posting frenzy.  Suffice it to say that everything interesting today is specialized and filled with technology and magic.  Pub music guitarmanship is no different.

If you have not been to Brady's, it is a brewery with a restaurant in it.  It has a nice elevated stage.  They serve a hamburger with peanut butter and bacon called "the silly good burger," and it is.  If you think peanut butter on a burger seems strange, imagine a Juicy Lucy with a very soft melted cheese of a salty, slightly nutty flavor.  They also serve a wood fired crab and shrimp dip that's outstanding.  I'm told the beer is very good, too.

We played for about 4 hours.  Nobody was injured.  There were a few excellent moments.  It was a good gig.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It is February 24th.

With good luck, it should only be a month or so before we start to see this.

A Good Day to be Elsewhere and an Unsolved Mystery

It was cold and gloomy this morning. According to my thermometer, it was -6 degrees at 7:00 am, and I have no reason to disbelieve the data.

I got to thinking I would rather be somewhere else, so I started perusing photos for a happier warmer place to think about.

That's when I happened by the adjacent photo. The photo was taken last summer on a warm August day with a marvelous blue sky. What struck me, however, was how the photo reminded me of an ongoing mystery. It was the mystery of the corn.

Behind the house - on the southeast corner, to be precise, we have a group of bird feeders. We put out sunflower seeds, niger thistle, an extravagant blend of seeds and nuts, and suet. I also like to put out some corn cobs.

Usually the corn cobs are found near the feeders, stripped of corn. But last August, over a period of about a week, we found corn cobs in the strangest of places. They turned up in trees, in a mailbox, out in the front yard, and up on the roof.

Not only is the corn cob in the photo up on the roof, but the corn is intact. How the corn got up there was a matter of some speculation, but it remains a mystery.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I wanted to publish something and I couldn't think of anything good to write. Since I've been playing, I figured a picture of a guitar and a wall of amplification might suffice. So here they are, in all their twangy goodness. I am very lucky to have stumbled onto a couple of the best sounding amplifiers to be found anywhere. It's kind of odd they should have landed with a drummer-hack guitar player.

There's extra credit for noticing the broken-off table legs under the table. The table was made from a door with table legs affixed to the bottom. It belonged to my parents before they had kids. I need to figure out how to fix it. It needs to be beefed up.

Meanwhile, the female wolf liberated from it's enclosure was found and rescued in new Brighton. It's a good day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why I'm Marz

I selected the name "Marz" because it is short for "Marzalvane."

I selected Volpots because it sounded European. It also refers to "volume pots," which are under the knobs on a guitar one turns up all the way in order to sound extra good. I think the technical term is "variable resistor." Marz Variable or Marz Resistor are both good names, too. For now I'll stick with Volpots.

I suppose you might be wondering why I would require a fictitious name. Sometimes I joke that it might keep me from getting fired. That's probably true. The other thing, though, is that I have the same name as a very famous celebrity. Although I am older, he has trademarked it. Someone else trademarked my name. I am allowed to use it - for non-commercial purposes. But if I open a restaraunt with my name on it and it is successful, then I owe the person who owns my name a piece of the action.

So I think its best for me to get used to being someone else. It's actually quite liberating. David Bowie had Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke; I've got Marz Volpots, progenitor of the avant-cubicle music movement.

Greetings from Marz

Hi, I'm Marz.

That's Dan on the left, Marz on the right.

We play music in parking lots.

We're currently gearing up for next summer's parking lot concert series. We'll be joined by guitarist Terry and drummer Mitch. We're also wishing for a bass player.

We'll probably book ourselves as The Captain Cook Society. That moniker has been around for a few years. We might be The Pocket Protectors. There's also an outside chance we might be called, "Roll the Giant Freezer." There was going to be a funny story about the giant freezer, but then it snowed and a truck came, and the Giant Freezer Roll never happened.

I wasn't going to be there for it anyway. It does seem like a pretty good band name, though.

Yes, I believe it is possible to maintain one's artistic integrity performing cover tunes in parking lots.

It's true, years ago I would have had my doubts. But now, with ASCAP and BMI overturning every last live music venue with thundering h0ards of vicious barristers, demanding general performance payments to be gluttonously consumed by the corporate elite...well, I believe playing folk rock songs in parking lots has regained its political cachet. Singing Mr. Tambourine Man has become an act of outright defiance in the face of the screeching boars intent upon consuming the last dying echoes of American folk culture into the fetid rotting corpse of intellectual property. You have to deprive people of their culture if you want to sell it back to them. So we're stealing it back.

Besides, people seem to enjoy it.

And sometimes we're paid in meat.