Wednesday, September 28, 2005



A friend of mine (no slouch of a writer himself...who has asked to remain nameless as he reads this goofy blog at work while he's supposed to be doing something far less important), writes:

"Hey Rob, you've always had an eye on the absurd in our culture. So I'm on the commuter train going home the other night, trying to forget the day I've had and enjoying my free Boston Herald (paper's dying so they give it out free at South Station in the afternoons). Anyway, in the Friday entertainment pullout, next to the ads for the Connecticut casinos, there's an ad for a dinner theatre appearance featuring "the original Madame," promising "no one is safe from her bawdy barbs."

"Now, if you'll think back to when we were kids, on Hollywood Squares and a bunch of other shows, "Madame" as accompanied by her puppetteer, Wayland Flowers, who died of AIDS around 1984 or so. So, the Arlington Regent Theatre is asking people to shell out $35 (hey, includes dinner) for a chance to be insulted by an aged puppet who is being manipulated by some unknown ventriloquist. I mean, okay, so even if we could VERIFY it's the ORIGINAL Madame, she's a.....puppet, right?

"It's like those world of wheels ads every January that promise a chance to meet "The Lost in Space Robot...IN PERSON.""

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


to all the amps i've loved before

perhaps it should be AMP porn tuesday...i was slow getting started today, and actually had a request (Thanks, Tim!)...

here's a great amp i sold a little while obscure, but rad SANO...

specs: these were made by folks who left the AMPEG company in the 60's and are a great and affordable way to get that super Ampeg Reverb Rocket tone at about 60% of the price...this was a twin 12" amp (around 30 watts) with what looked like Oxford Alnico speakers...AMAZING reverb (better than any Fender I've ever heard) tremolo...super cool swirly grill :)

tubes: 3 12axy's for the preamps and reverb...a 6sc7, i'm pretty sure for the trem...and two 7591's for clean, bottom-rich incredibly clean full sounding amp...not so loud...2-channel, which you can bridge...

if you see them on ebay, you should be able to snatch a mint one for under $350.

why did i sell it? because i had to have this Magnatone 260 i rebuilt...which you can't can't even look at it...move along...nothing to see there...

if anyone out there has some cool or oddball guitar stuff, drop me a line at and make your contribution to tuesday guitar porn...

Saturday, September 24, 2005



hey kids, the new band The Danbury Shakes, is recording a demo this, stay tuned for mp3's, the new 'myspace' band page, and gig announcements...

also, we're having a new shower unit, if you hear banging and swearing in the background of said mp3's, well, mystery solved :)


Friday, September 23, 2005


read any good books lately...some new reads

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer...great book about a young, idealistic, interesting young man who tried to survive off the land in Alaska and died in 1992. Great central fugure...very well written...

The Breaking Point: by Stephen Koch...about the end of the friendship between Dos Passos and Hemingway during the Spanish civil war. Good read...facinating stuff...

Controlled Burn by Scott Wolven...short stories about men at their wit's end, dangling on the fringes of's Denis Johnson meets Ray Carver meets Jim Thompson, an it's done VERY well.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


5 reads for writers

I was just asked for 5 great books for writers for an upcoming publication, but you get to read my picks here first--cheers-feel free to add your own...R

These are not the 5 best books ever (impossible to say...and subjective as well), but 5 books that a writer, or aspiring writer, can't go wrong reading:

1) The Great Gatsby: Fitzgerald's high water mark is a beautiful book, full of effortless musical language and some killer scenes. And maybe the best ending ever.

2) Reasons to Live: AMy Hemple's first collection is one of the few books that I have no issues with. What a stunner. So tight, so clean, and so spare. As beautiful and awe-inspriring as that other great force of minimalism--the desert.

3) Revolutionary Road: Richard Yates is so often called a 'writer's writer'. Why? He's among the best stylists the 20th century produced. Such amazingly beautiful work. Yates' beautully-rendered despair is rivaled only by Beckett.

4) Self Help: Lorrie Moore is so good at funny, sad stories. Great stuff.

5) Jesus' Son: Denis Johnson is just SO good. One of the few books I wish I'd written.

6) Darrell Spencer: (Couldn't stop at 5-ha) ANY of his books of stories...Maybe the best short story writer working today.

And a bonus new book... 7) Tod Goldberg's Simplify. A great read.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005



Yet more amp porn...and perhaps some pedal porn later (I need to go now to get my liver coffeee...argh...i am groggy and mean, having fatsed since midnight...which isn't really impressive, in any way, but it has me down)...

err...amps, right.

the wackiest amp ever, maybe!

Saturday, September 17, 2005


I Thought You Should Know...'s a few days late for the anniversary, BUT:


It makes you think. It puts things in perspective. Or maybe not...




Great Music You should hear

Don't have any Don't Mean Maybe in your collection? You are missing one of the truly great bands of the early 90's.

As a PSA to music fans, everywhere (all four of you reading this, anyway), do yourself a favor and buy one or both of these.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Great Show Sat, the 17th

Come on out...should be a blast...some killer bands playing...

Warning Label Records, Happy Squid Records, and Avebury Records are co-sponsoring a record release party this Saturday, Sept. 17th, at The Echo. Warning Label has just issued a CD version of Happy Squid's 1981 compilationKEATS RIDES A HARLEY, while Avebury has similarly issued 1982's WARFRATTALES.

Both are expanded releases with additional songs and extensive linernotes.Many of the participating bands are re-forming exclusively for this event:check it out!

Saturday, September 17th, 4 pm (yes, it's a matinee show!)

THE ECHO1822 Sunset Blvd. (Echo Park)$5.00 admission -- all ages

Bands, in order of appearance:
S Squad
The Question?
The Last
Wednesday Week
Human Hands
Leaving Trains

We expect the night to wind up around 9 pm, so you can still catch that 10pmshowing of DEUCE BIGALOW, EUROPEAN GIGOLO.For more on KEATS, visit or www.warninglabelrecords.comFor more on WARFRAT, visit

Wednesday, September 14, 2005



OK,'s guest for "The Game" is one Missy Nelson...way cool old friend of mine (she ain't old, but we go way back)...great thinker and writer, amazing football prognostacater (sp?), source of many a 'hot librarian' fantasy to University Students in Austin TX, where she lives with Claude, who plays accordian and keys and other things in the Gourds, and Harriet, who does not do any of those things...

NOTE: "The Game" is must make a choice, and then defend said choice...feel free to post arguments and support. Thanks, Missy, who writes:

Neil Young or Bob Dylan

Damn this is hard....but I have to go with Young. I mean in terms of a desert island kinda thing, not a "who is more important/influential" kinda thing. Bob gets the nod for more important/influential, but in terms of my favorite listening, it's Neil all the way. His range is far greater, his risk-taking is more compelling (think "Trans" and his work with DEVO), and overall, I think he's got a greater body of listenable stuff than Bob. Nothing Dylan has done has wowed me much since Blood on the Tracks, but some of Young's strongest records are from the late 70's, like Rust Never Sleeps/Live Rust. And I think in 2005 I'd twenty times rather see Neil play with Crazy Horse than Bob with any band he can put together. So for range, longevity, and overall listenability I gotta go with Neil.

As for CSN&Y, I think this highlights one of Neil's weaker points - he sometimes isn't very discrimiating about his own output. Maybe Neil is the eternal optimist and thinks that he can actually still make a good record with these guys. Maybe he wants to lend a little selling power to the CSN&Y brand. Or maybe he just likes hanging out with them. I dunno. I liken Neil to a Michael Caine in the acting world - lots of terrific performances, but a fair amount of dreck, too. A solid working musician who likes to rock and likes to stay busy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Bless Mommy and Daddy and send Guitar Porn

Today, Guitar Porn is Amp Porn...same diff, as the kids used to say when i was one of em...Here's a new (a very old new) amp I just rebuilt...way cool...a late 1940's "Fidelity" amp...with just a volume and tone knob and a great a tweed fender champ...yee-haw...tone? Sounds like Neil Young's live rig...

Yummy. Great little amp...if you out there have any broken things that look like this, send them my way...:)

8" alnico speaker...good growl...

Tube line-up, you ask? (Well, maybe only Mark Andrea is asking, as he's the only tube amp geek like me I know who might be reading this...)...but, for Mark, at the very least...

7F7 (odd, but effective preamp tube)...5Y3 rectifier...sounds chewier with a 5U4, though...and a single 6V6 output for crankin' overdrive.

And it's way cute...

Monday, September 12, 2005


Writer's Faire

Was mucho fun...Tod Goldberg moderated the 'writing funny' panel i was on, and it was a kick (including a very stuffy tweed suited guy who seemed to wonder why no one writes like Noel Coward anymore and what is going on with all the potty which i say "Good day, sir.....I said Good DAY!"

The day was long on friends and smart good writers (both faculty and ex-students)...and blissfully short on lunatics who wanted me to read their collected works, written on diner napkins and the back of tree bark...egads. buddy Russ gave me a college text (with ooogie pics) on Fetal Pigs (for the majority of folks out there who haven't read my novel...there is a sub-plot of sorts that deals with, you guessed it, Fetal Pigs).

Thanks, RUSS!

As no one out there has given me any gummi bear porn, this currently is the coolest book-related present ever.

Good seeing y'all.


Tommorow: More GUITAR PORN (actually amp porn tomorrow :)
WEDS: My buddy Missy plays "The Game" with the subject being "Bob Dylan/Neil Young?"

Saturday, September 10, 2005



I'm on two panels tomrorrow...writing the first novel is one...and writing funny (or some such thing) is the other, with my bud Tod Goldberg...the writer's faire is free, full of some great panels...check out the whole listing here:

and if you're a friend and you see me being cornered by a lunatic after a panel, come over and save me. cheers


Thursday, September 08, 2005


Help 826LA help others.

For those of you who don't know, 826LA is one of the great things to happen to the LA-area literary community...ever. They are great people...they do wonderful things, and now, not content with helping just locally, they're pitching in with aid for people who need it most at the moment.

From their newsletter below--and please help, if you can. All best & thanks,


826 MOBILIZES TO HELP KATRINA EVACUEESLike everyone in the country, 826 National is stunned by the destruction and displacement caused by Hurricane Katrina, and we want to help. We know that providing basic needs and medical supplies is the first priority of the Red Cross, yet we are also aware of the power of storytelling and we’d like to help create a setting where students can start to write. We would like to complement the ongoing relief services by offering storytelling & bookmaking opportunities for young Americans waiting in churches and at the Astrodome in Houston.We are planning on working with a minimum of 200-250 students a day. In addition to multiple storytelling and bookmaking sessions per day, our team will establish stations where young people can come and learn how to craft their own books and journals in creative and gorgeous ways, draw cartoons, and write poems. We will also take hundreds of coloring books and crayons to offer as a positive distraction. We understand that this volunteer work will only be a tiny portion of what will need to happen in order for these young people to feel safe and complete again, but we still would like to participate in giving them some of the attention they deserve right now. Assuming that we are able to raise the necessary funds, our team will leave for Houston on Monday, September 12th. We hope to work with people in Houston during this time of crisis, and leave our teaching tips and tools behind as communities rebuild.If you are interested in donating funds or sponsoring the trip for one of our volunteers, please visit

Please write “Hurricane Katrina” in the space allowed for the “In Honor” section. We are also looking for people to donate frequent flyer miles for plane tickets to Houston. Please contact Pilar Perez ( for more information.We would also gladly accept donations of supplies anytime before the end of the day this Friday. Supplies needed include crayons, pens, pencils, notebooks, construction paper, glue, scissors (safe kids' ones and adult ones), watercolors, watercoloring paper, and paint brushes.


Sex & Drugs

No rock and roll today, but in this episode of "The Game," i asked a reader, who is in the know on such matters:

Better for fucking: 'Ludes or alcohol?

And the answer (and all you need to know about our guest expert is that she's way hot and smart and knows of what she speaks)....

"re: blog - ludes (highly predictable: take lude, wait 3-5 minutes for it to come on - fuck your brains out - pass out - wake up hangover-free)

alcohol (highly unpredictable....drink, wait 30 seconds or never to come on...maybe fuck your brains out, maybe go home pouty, pass out - wake up with hideous hangover and look for car)...

Have to go w/ ludes on this one."

A public service...but since you can't get ludes in the US anymore, you people will just have to fuck sober. But a good fuck should get you plenty high...if it doesn't, you're doing something wrong.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


C'mon out for Los Blips

As Austin TX's amazing Gourds ( have been known to say..., "C'mon Motherfucker, where the party at?"

Well, wednesday night, it's at The Key Club with my buddy Steve's band (he's also in one with me and Gayle...The Danbury Shakes...more info soon)...or, as I like to think of them, Steve's other band :)

This below is from his announcement...speading the word...see you there-

What: A musical extravaganza with the indie-rock sensation Los Blips (I play drums...)

Where: The Cat Club, West Hollywood, CA, USA

When: Wednesday, Sept. 7, 11:00 pm (yikes!) Okay, okay, I know it's late for some, but hey, what's life without a little unpredictability. Besides, it'll give you a good excuse to go in late towork the next day and see less of your boss! And wouldn't that be grand?The particulars --

The Music: Los Blips play guitar-based indie-rock, melodic, sometimes loud... no, mostly loud. And fun, don't forget that -- we're FUN with acapital F.

The Cat Club: A cool joint very close the Whiskey A-Go-Go on Sunset Blvd. --8911 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood CA 90069 to be exact. (You can mapquest it if needed).It's 21 and over so unfortunately the kiddies have to stay at home playing Grand Theft Auto. But that means you can have a cocktail or two as long as you keep your wits about you. Oh, and it's $5.00 to get in. Yes, I'm sure there's a guest list somewhere,but after all is said and done, you can't even get a Sunday paper and a goodcup o' Joe for that in this town. And this'll be WAY better than that Soduku thingy that's all the rage these days.Okay, so we'll see y'all there!On the Flippy,Steve



so, in the first of my weekly features, i declare's tuesday...err, tuesday, GUITAR PORN day...every tuesday, i'll try to post some odd and/or interesting link to way coolio guitar, effects and/or amps...up today is the super retro-cool Mike at Eastwood guitars and his astounding site:

His company, Eastwood...They make great, affordable, totally gigable guitars...great stuff...and i don't have a wishlist...but anything you want to buy from Mike for me would do fine in this house.

Tomorrow, look for the first day of "The Game" where i ask various Q's of various guests (i.e., "Stones or Beatles...? explain your choice)...tomorrow Q is to a good pal of mine about whether 'ludes or alcohol are better for great sex.

Monday, September 05, 2005


leapin lizards

My buddy Tod Goldberg ( has Lizards...which are WAY better than rats...

i took out five lizards from our desert house this weekend...they are not easy to catch...but you don't want to kill lizards...bad ju ju.

or so i've heard.

meanwhile, our president is still an idiot...and now the supreme court is becoming the supremely fucked up court. nice how he does his nefarious deals during national and international tragedy (see the various EPA gutting in the 9-11 aftermath)...too bad about those poor people in the Gulf...and that annoying Shehan woman...hey, he's got to get on with his life...


back from the desert

hot enough for ya?

well, got lots of reading and writing done on the's part of the view...

reading? "The Breaking Point" about the end of the Hemingway/Dos Passos friendship and the murder of Jose Robles...good book...interesting...also re-read Gerald Webber's "Tube Amp Tips
for Guitar Techs" book and was loving it again and again...but it's a niche book...can't rec for everyone...

Writin': the new novel...just finished's off at the, a new, new one...full of painkillers and bad get rich quick wheelhouse.

more soon.

what are folks out there reading? do tell...

Friday, September 02, 2005


Fats Domino

Now, what's going on in New Orleans is horrible...and I'm not, in any way, making light of events there. Amazing, terrible stuff.

However, among the MANY news stories out of NO was the one yesterday that Fats Domino was missing, which led me (and I can't be alone here) to think, Fats Domino is still alive?

We need a website...Dead or Not Dead. Dot com.

For years, I thought Lorne Green was alive, when in fact he was long dead.

And, the flip of that...When Spiro Agnew died (only a few years ago), I'd assumed he'd been dead for years.

Fats Domino, apparently, has been rescued.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


West Hollywood Book Fair OCT 2nd

On Sunday, 10/2...Come out to West Hollywood's VERY cool book fair...i'm on a panel about music & writing...with Legs McNeil (co-author of the incredible book Please Kill Me: The Oral History of Punk and a newer one about porn i have yet to read, but i'm sure it's pornriffic...and Mike Watt...of, among MANY other projects, the amazing Pedro Punk Legends, The Minutemen...he'll be talking about his Tour Spiel book...I'll be talking about More Than They Could Chew, and begging Watt to sign my beat up copy of Double Nickles on the Dime...and ditto with Legs on Please Kill Me...The Panel is moderated by the super great Catherine of the stunning poetry collections Locket and DaDaDa.

Booksigning sponsored by Book Soup afterwards...I'm also signing at the Mystery Bookstore and the Writer's Program booth. Which is a lot of places to sign one or two books. Here's the scoop. The skinny. The inside dope...The true gen:


Upcoming appearances

Well, let's get this blog off the ground...there will be more posts, more info, more links and all that soon, but for now...

I'm on two (count 'em) TWO panels at the UCLA Extension Writer's Faire on September a result of my job that day, i won't be doing the Pacific Coast Triathalon, which i have done the last 3 years...and i must say, i won't mind sleeping past 5AM that i will probably not get kicked in the head when jumping into the ocean...

the Faire info is here:

One of the panels is with my good bud, Tod Goldberg, whose new collection of stories, Simplify you should run out and buy at any of his many local appearances coming up...his link is on the left...go there...

The other panel is about your first novel...or it's about getting cheap drugs in Mexico...i'm not sure which...i get asked to speak on a lot of topics and i can't keep them all in my head.

More soon. Cheers. & welcome...


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