Part Eight 2007-present
As 2007 progressed, the scope of the damage and repair to my basement and, subsequently, my studio became clear. It was going to take longer than anticipated. Coupled with the fact that my primary job was consuming much of my time, it was evident that the studio would be down for quite a while. Likewise, for me, playing music became almost non existant with the exception of the occasional open-mic nights at local bars with Kira or Seraph. I would hardly even pick up the guitar at home.
April 2007 presented another concert highlight for me when The Stooges returned to Detroit. This would be the final time I would see this version of the band. Guitarist Ron Asheton would die in early 2009. It was a great show and left me wanting more.
To back track a little bit to a band that became a favorite in the late 1980s and I previously forgot to mention in this story...
Dinosaur Jr. is a perennial favorite. I'm not certain how I forgot to previously mention them. Having disbanded in the late 1990s, they released their first new album in a decade in 2007. As with Mission of Burma a few years earlier, I was greatly pleased to hear that the band hadn't lost its stride and their sound was just the same. It was great to have new material in the 21st century.
The new 2007 album
As previously mentioned, I had learned of a British singer Carina Round in 2004 and she immediately became one of my favorite artists. Finally, in 2007, I had the first opportunity to see her live. Seraph and I went to see Carina in Cleveland on September 12 but we didn't know exactly where the venue was and spent a large amount of time trying to find it. When we finally found it and got in, the other band, The Cinematics, were on stage and, assuming Carina was the headliner, we figured we had made it in time to see her show. However, much to our dismay, we soon learned that Carina had already played
Carina was at her merchandise table so, to verify, I asked her if indeed she had already played and she said the word I didn't want to hear, "yes". I expressed how bummed I was and mentioned that we had driven 75 miles, got lost, etc., etc. Carina replied, "I'll just have to give you an acoustic performance, then". I couldn't believe my ears. I thanked her and waited. Seraph had trouble believing it so I asked Carina if she was serious. Sure enough, she said she was and added, "... just hang around until the place clears out a bit". Wow!!!
I looked at her merchandise and bought one of her limited handmade CDs. I had grabbed a particular one but Carina grabbed another one saying, "This one's my favorite. Take this one" (she didn't say why). She autographed the CD with a personalized comment. It says, "Chuck! (e's in love...) x x Carina Round". For those of you who don't get it, she's referencing the Rickie Lee Jones song, "Chuck E.'s In Love" because I told her my name was Chuck (which is what friends call me).
We hung around chatting a bit with Carina and Svend (her drummer) when Carina grabbed an acoustic guitar and walked up to us. She asked what we'd like to hear but, since the place was still a bit noisy, she then said, "Let's go out here" (to a little outdoor court area).
She played five songs (each at my request). One was "Ribbons" which she said she hadn't played in a long time (and she almost forgot the words to the last verse but pulled it off great). At first, it was just Carina, Seraph and me but after a couple songs about ten other people wandered out. The singer and the guitarist from The Cinematics also came out and did one song.
Although we missed the real show, this little treat was absolutely fabulous. It was a clear, starry, cool night (about midnight hour) and the court was basically concrete and glass so the acoustics were great. She sounded incredible. Finally, she stood up and said, "How was that?" I could have asked her to go on forever but I didn't want to be greedy. I thanked her profusely. I reached to shake her hand but she gave me a hug. We chatted a bit more then said our goodbyes.
I'm still bummed that we missed the actual show but this was a very special little treat (which lasted about a half hour) and a memory I will cherish. It was such a wonderful treat and speaks much for her integrity and dedication to her fans.
At least I got to see her on stage when she stepped up to sing harmony during one of The Cinematics' last songs.
Carina on stage in Cleveland the night we met her. In other words... the performance we missed.
We shot no photos of the personal performance. Other people did take photos but I've been
unable to locate any of them.
Prompted by my gratitude for Carina's personal performance and the fact that finding info about her on the internet was very elusive, I decided to create a much needed website for her. I gathered everything I could sleuth up about her and, by December 2007, the site went online. Some email correspondence began between us and she was grateful for my efforts. It is now the premier website for all things Carina. Hell, even Carina's mother now writes to me.
The website can be visited here...
2008 held no great musical events for me. Work on my basement continued and my website creativity focused on the Carina site with The Beatles sites sitting on the back burner. One interesting point of note is that I was contacted by Alan Grandy, former member and leader of the defunct Cleveland band The Terrible Parade. He had found me via a Google search which turned up my rare recordings list that includes a live recording of The Terrible Parade at the Cleveland Agora in November 1983. This was a rare recording of an unique band member line-up and he was interested in acquiring a copy of the recording. It turns out that it's the best known recording of that particular line-up.
I chose to make a digital copy of the tape and sent him the master. Later in the year, the recording was released under the title Back To Square One (Live '82). It was a treat to have one of my recordings officially released by a band. In return, Grandy sent me a copy of the CD along with their best-of CD, Where Were You When The Lights Went Out.
The Terrible Parade - Back To Square One (Live '83)
However, 2008 presented me with the most tragic event in my life in decades. On April 19, my life-long best friend Mike Baker (mentioned in earlier parts of this bio) passed away from liver disease at the tender age of 51. We had known each other since we were both in diapers and had been best friends for over four decades. Our shared musical interests were one and no one bore more musical influence than each other. Mike was never a musician but our musical tastes grew simultaneously. Likewise, no one in this world will ever know me better than Mike. I cannot begin to express the sense of loss and sorrow I've felt over losing Mike. To date, this was the most tragic death in my life and, aside from my life-partner (wife), I doubt it will be surpassed.
I loved him with all my heart.
Mike circa 2000s at a blues festival.
In January 2009, I inherited an abandoned Carina Round website called CarinaLive. Besides my site, this was the only other foremost Carina website. This was added as a sub-chapter to my present site. However, more than that, 2009 would become a good Carina year for me. In May, Carina released a new record and had a record release performance in Los Angeles. Seraph and I decided to attend the show. Likewise, neither of us had ever been to L.A. After informing Carina I would be attending, she graciously added us to the guest list.
Carina's show was great. Remember, this was the first opportunity I had to see her on stage. After the show, she afforded us the chance to chat with her for about an hour and we were able to meet several of her friends and associates such as photographer Kristin Burns, musicians Sierra Swan and Sam Stewart (son of The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart), long time bandmate Tom Livemore and L.A. producer Dan Burns. It's interesting, too, that one of her friends, Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins was there but we had no opportunity to meet him. Details and photos of the show and be are found HERE.
Obviously, the Los Angeles trip provided a grand opportunity to experience one of entertainment's hottest spots. More by chance than design, our hotel was dead center in the heart of Sunset Boulevard and within walking distance of Hollywood Boulevard. Just down the street was the legendary club The Whisky A Go Go. As we sat inside the club, which was much smaller than I would have assumed, I couldn't help but imagine some of my favorite bands that had been housebands there... the likes of The Doors in the1960s, Iggy & The Stooges in the 1970s and X in the 1980s. Man, that must have been incredible. The band there that night was some young local punk three-piece band. They were different to live music I see in my area and they were nice to see but they were rather uneventful.
Across the street is The Viper Room. We just missed the live band there but this is really a small intimate club. A block or so further down was The Roxy where we saw a fabulous blues/jazz jam band. I don't remember their name but these guys were badass! This is a great club to see bands. Next to that is the Rainbow Bar, a favorite haunt of many musicians throughout the years. Being in Hollywood, we saw the potential of seeing some celebrities but, aside from Carina and her friends, the only person we saw (that we're aware of) was none other than porn actor Ron Jeremy(!)... of all people. He came to the Rainbow Bar one evening we were there. However this was the coolest bar we visited and had the friendliest people. There was a band playing upstairs but we didn't see them play.
A little further down the street was The Key Club but we didn't visit that club. Also in the area was several great restaurants as well as a couple of popular comedy clubs. We could have hung out on Sunset all day. But, aside from basic sightseeing, we spent much of one day on Hollywood Boulevard. One highlight for me personally was a visit to Amoeba Records. This is record store heaven!!! Hell, I could have spent the entire trip there!
The next month, in June, Carina played New York City. Jeni and I decided to attend. Carina was becoming a good reason to travel. This show was a bit more stripped down (only two guitars and keyboards), was much more intimate and our seats were great right at the stage. Again, we had a chance to hang out with Carina after the show and meet a couple more of her friends.
Details can of the show be read HERE.
Of course, New York City is an entertainment hot spot but we saw very little that was related to music or entertainment in general. Most of the time was spent simply sightseeing. This was Jeni's first time there. I had been there in February 1977 for a Beatles Fest but, at that time, the city was covered in snow and, aside from seeking out record stores, I spent most of my time at the fest.
One treat while we were there was to learn that there was a Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Annex that was featuring a John Lennon exhibit set up by Yoko Ono. Of course, I had to check it out. While it was great to see the Lennon artifacts and the other artifacts in general, I must say, it wasn't really worth the price of admission. Considering the small size of the annex, the admission charge was a bit high. If I'm ever back in NYC, unless there's a special exhibit, I won't be returning to the annex. I'll stick with the main Rock Hall in Cleveland. The price is better, there's more artifacts and it's much closer to home.
Another Carina show was in March 2010 but, this time, she was performing as a member of Maynard James Keenan's (of Tool fame) band Puscifer. The show was in Lorain, Ohio (near Cleveland). This was a most unusual type of concert (check Google for show reviews). My review of this show can be read HERE. We had the chance to chat with her briefly but, in essence, she was working for Keenan and her personal time was limited. I planned to see the next night's show in Detroit but was unable to make it.
Carina on stage with Puscifer
In the summer 2010, I was able to see Steve Albini and Shellac again in Cleveland. GREAT concert!!!
Shellac in Cleveland
Returning to the past once again, I forgot to mention another highly favorite band... Cleveland's Rocket From The Tombs.
For those of you who aren't familiar with them, RFTT was a band the existed in the mid 1970s and were the proto-band for late 1970s to early 1980s Cleveland bands, Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys. At the time of their existence, no proper recordings were made or released. However, rehearsal and live recordings broadcast on Cleveland's WMMS radio circulated among traders and the rehearsal recordings saw semi-legit/bootleg release around 1990 on an album and single.
Aside from the fact that the band played early versions of songs I would like by their subsequent bands and a few covers by The Stooges and The Rolling Stones, I could relate to these guys' music. They were all about my age at the time, they were from very near me in Ohio, they had been playing music for about as long as me at the time and their sound was what I aspired to create during that time period. I sure wish I had known of their existence at the time. Cleveland is an hour from my home and I suspect I would have gone to see them play but I didn't hear of them until the early 1980s after becoming a fan of Pere Ubu and The Dead Boys. In any case, this band became an eternal favorite and their rare recordings like gold to me.
In the late 1990s, I created and distributed two RFTT bootlegs - one from the rehearsal tapes and one live recordings. I finally had to cease when I was selling some on eBay and was contacted by band member (and Dead Boy) Cheetah Chrome. He asked that I stop selling the bootlegs because they were finally planning an official release of the material. Otherwise, he wouldn't mind. Of course I honored his request but, interestingly, he bought one of the discs simply because he didn't have the photo I used for the cover.
In 2003, the band regrouped with three out of the five original members (one had died and one had opted out and were replaced by other musicians, one being Television's Richard Lloyd) for a series of shows. I elected not to attend assuming it simply wouldn't be the same. In 2004, proper new recordings of their original songs were made and an album released. I didn't consciously not buy it but simply hesitated and ultimately forgot about it. In 2010, I was reminded of it and finally bought it. WOW! What a wonderful noise. I love this fuckin' record!!! This music sounds fresh for today. As one reviewer put it... "The missing link between Captain Beefheart (intelligent abstract rock) and Iggy Pop (garage punk cacophony)". I'm now very sorry I missed the 2003 shows.
As should be evident by now, I haven't made any music in a while. At the time of this writing (2011), it's been nearly five years since I recorded anything and I've barely picked up an instrument in two years. The studio rebuild has been slow going taking second base to getting the house repaired for the whole family. The studio would probably have been running by now because most is assembled but I have a serious 60hz ground hum somewhere in the system that permeates everything and random attempts to locate it have been unsuccessful and I haven't taken the focus to remedy it.
I view this as merely a hiatus and do plan to make music again. I look forward to doing work with Seraph whose musical ability has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. I'm sure we could do something interesting. I'm certain the time will come.
In the meantime, I still do Beatles research and maintain updates to the Carina Round site but, for the past year, I have focused on the history of my hometown, Port Clinton, Ohio. I've always had an avid interest in the town's history and last year became the archivist for our county museum and have been assembling definitive reports on the area's history. I anticipate this will be an activity for the rest of my life.
Stay tuned, further updates will be forthcoming.
Thanks for visiting,