Monday, April 23, 2007


I'm pleased to announce an awesome show at Big Orange, this Thursday evening.

The line-up will be as follows:

Real Live Tigers


Jeffrey Lewis

For those unfamiliar, Jeff crafts fantastic comic books and "anti-folk" music. According to Wikipedia,

Anti-folk combines the raw, abrasive, and frequently politically charged attitudes of the punk scene with the sounds of American folk tradition.

Jeffrey has his own website, which provides a glimpse into the world of this awesome dude. His prolific creativity inspires me, to a total extreme of big-wash hair.

Beautiful song by Jeff

Global Warming

Communism in China

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I've long been interested in manipulation of sound. Recently, I've become interested in manipulation of sound through use of a space / room / environment, rather than simply plugging in to an effects pedal. The results are far more interesting and the process by which they are achieved is plain as day to see. Example :

My ongoing project, which I have called Acoustic Alchemy, Bill Baird and Acoustic Alchemy, BB / AA (the best name so far, I think), and Cabeza de Vaca, has done mild experimenting on a number of fronts, and to good effect, I think. The project was conceived after I'd played a number of shows as a solo songwriter, and found that the energy and drive which was intended in the songs simply was not translating. A new approach was needed, one that challenged the old ideas of songwriters, performers, and such. We're not talking revolution here, just an interesting way to perform introspective folky-type songs in a club atmosphere that demands visual spectacle, a certain base level of implied violence, just a tad bit of novelty, and just enough audience uncertainty.

How am I approaching this problem?

Through the use of repetition of parts / instruments; inspired by Glenn Branca, only not at all abrasive. Confrontational, but confronting folks with something (hopefully) quite beautiful and sparkling.

We have have as many as seven or eight people playing the same strummy strummy part on guitar. This has been successful for us for a number of reasons ::::

First, just the pure visual of it. Seven people holding acoustic guitars looks cool and also strange, like some boys escaped from vacation bible school. The repetition of the image is crucial.

Second, the sound of seven (more or less) guitars all strumming the same general pattern, with each players different rhythmic flourishes and quirks thrown in, makes for a beautiful wash of lush stringed noise. No amps, no electronics ! Just vibrating strings; so much more pleasing to the ear.

Third, emphasis on individual playing has been mostly obliterated and members are encouraged to really play as a group. This is a problem I've found quite typical of loud rock ensembles. Even in a nice club with good monitoring, you only end up playing to maybe half the band. There is not really any sense of the totality of it all. This line-up hopefully allows people the awareness of everything that's happening on stage.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, having so many players not tied to amplifiers allows incredible flexibility in adapting to changing circumstances in a room. We can spread out all across the stage, move through a room, walk outside... using space as part of the music, we've achieved something that feels magical when you're part of it. The players may spread out through the room, all along the perimeter, so the audience is literally surrounded by sound, enveloped by it. This leads to what I would call pleasant uncertainty, which I find quite amazing as an audience member. Feeling enraptured and being strung along by a performer, wondering what will happen next... this sense of mystery is missing from most "rock" shows that I've seen. People arrive, start drinking, talking, a band plays, and very few people really pay attention or step into the moment they're actually inhabiting. Our show tries to shake them and wake them up! And if they don't want to come along for the ride, so be it. We will still enjoy ourselves.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I've decided to release a series of DVDs entitled Candlelit Television Eyes. There is no unifying concept for the videos that will make it onto these editions. They range from installation video to music video to absurdist humor to abstract colors.

This post details some of the vids from Vol. 1 and a few destined for Vol. 2.

A year-and-a-half ago, I was scurrying across that great mess of light known as Times Square. My scummy-modernist hotel sat a block off this whole mess, and traveling anywhere in the city required a walk through this humming, bright-pink/yellow/neon cityscape. Perhaps feeling overly caffeinated, I decided to confront the square with rushing through, to sit and observe. I had shortly begun surveying the scene through my super8 camera; the viewfinder would limit my range of vision to only what I wanted to see.

Something struck me about the normally vile, absurd jumbotron screens flashing all around me. If I simply zoomed in a little, the revolting becomes, well, quite quite interesting. Even quite beautiful. The grid of bulbs, pulsing. The mechanics and construction of the images flashing all around us, all the time.

The title is a sly reference to the images of the man surfing and the admonition for one to "Log On" to the internet. In a way, I think surfing (water-based) best sums up the necessary approach to this absurdly riotous, violent, fast-paced world in which we live (not that I'm particularly adept at surfing). Namely, don't look forward, don't look back, step into the wave, step into the moment, etc. All that West Coast Buddhist slop. Which is all true !

Or, as my friend Sam says "I'm just gonna get on my surfboard and ride......." To be included on Volume 2.

On a side note, stills from this image were the artwork for SOUND TEAM's "Movie Monster."


The music is all my own voice. The image came from a boot store.


Vaguely absurd comment on people walking around with literal and metaphorical bags-on-their-heads. Which ties into the lyrics, I suppose, but the lyrics aren't quite as playful, or don't seem that way to me. To be included on Volume 2 of Candlelit Television Eyes.


The world moves fast, far too fast. This was all shot on super8 film. The locations range from Hampstead Heath in North London to the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland.

type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350">

This is about the most vulnerable I can get. The video shows New York from high above and then down on the ground, amidst the largest single-day snowfall in New York's recorded history. Again, all super8 film. The poor resolution does no justice to the video, but, alas, this will have to do for now.