Monday, February 22, 2010

God Street Wine, The Bedroom Sessions

God Street Wine, The Bedroom Sessions

"I daresay the Geffen people got quite a demo out of us; now it belongs to everyone. - Lo Faber

In 1993 while at a H.O.R.D.E. festival at the Garden State Arts Center* (after being dropped off by my friend's mom waaay early, cuz we couldn't drive yet), I stumbled upon a band that would change my life. God Street Wine holds a special place in my heart amongst my most favorite bands. I used to weasel my way into 7 Willow Street and the Fore n' Aft to see these guys play until 4am (and show up late for HS in the morning after getting 2 hours of sleep). Their beautifully composed and oftentimes hyperactive jamming always rocked. Their songs spoke to me, made me happy, and the guys were all super cool & tolerated my shenanigans taboot.

GSW played roughly 200+ shows a year, all across the country. Their fans-- Winos (of course), traded cassette tapes of live shows (BLANKS & POSTAGE, man) to share the music. Tape trees flourished. It was a different time. Downloading music from the interwebs didn't even exist yet. Only a handful of songs ever ended up on GSW's 6 official cd releases. To hear the rest of 'em, you had to go to a show or get a tape.

(photos courtesy of Michael Weiss)

left to right: tomo, lo, aaron, bevo, dan

Sadly, GSW called it quits in 12/99 with a couple of farewell shows at Wetlands. It sucked. It was as if my heart had been ripped out. I cried. I'm not made of stone, people. Since then, besides having enough kids to fill a soccer team- they've gotten together a number of times, including last year's tribute concert to legendary Wino, Paul Ducharme- part of which took place in a Wyckoff, NJ basement. There, God Street Wine conjured up some weird energy, turned the air upside down, and transported us all back in time to 1993**. There was some weird shit going on down there.

That kind of re-energized it all. It was a sign. With efforts from Winos everywhere, the past year has been spent encouraging GSW to play more. There's a facebook group, "Bring Back God Street Wine", dedicated to the cause. The group's 1000+ members (that include a few band members too), frequently post videos, photos, live shows, etc. on what has become an evolving shrine of sorts.

Adding to the pot, not only have GSW recently put all of their albums up for free DL on iLike, but they have also put the famed Bedroom Sessions (links below) up on the archive for public consumption. The Bedroom Sessions are 31 of 33 songs recorded in Lo's bedroom at the house in Ossining. They were originally used as a demo for Geffen. Lo tells the full story behind these babies on the archive pages and I suggest you read it. This shit was done the old fashioned way-- uphill, in the snow, both ways... barefoot (okay, maybe fuzzy bunny slippers).

This is the motherload. The Bedroom Sessions are A MUST HAVE FOR EVERY WINO OR POTENTIAL FUTURE-WINO. It's all the songs you wanted to hear more of, if only you could find the right tapes, and provided those tapes hadn't been sitting on the floor of your car for many an August heat-wave and/or January Blizzard***. GSW have essentially released a free box-set of some of the most treasured and cherished songs that made God Street Wine who they were: A mind-blowingly amazing rock n' roll band, playing amazing songs, capable of going from Country to Blues to Jazz to Lounge to Haiku, at the drop of a single cue. Songs you couldn't hear anywhere else, delivered with a swagger. That was is GSW.

What's funny is that they recorded these as a live band and only did a few takes for each song. Lo once told me he never sings the wrong lyrics- he always sings the ones appropriate for that individual moment. I'm pretty sure there's a couple of those moments here and that only makes The Bedroom Sessions sweeter. During an intense Snake Eyes, Lo sings about getting some pizza.

The highlights are ridiculous:
  • New Eyes is one of my most favorite GSW songs and up until now, I had 1 copy of it-- from 10/27/94 at the Fox Theater in Boulder, CO.

  • Epiphany is another most favorite. Bevo rocked this shit!

  • When She Go is another favorite- a rarity. So so catchy. One of the only raggae songs I've ever liked... sung by white guys.

  • Bring Back the News-- beautiful, bouncy, sweet, and one of the first songs I ever heard GSW play. It always stuck with me.

  • Stupid Hat-- the sheet music to this song looks as gorgeous as it sounds-- and now there's a studio version for us to enjoy!

  • 6:15, Cheap Utah Blues, Change Your Mind, Funny Kinda Love, Hungry Again--- these songs still blow my mind! How did this not catch on?!?

  • And the rarities!!! Miss Leonardo!!! Seein' Yer Meanin', Whatcha Gonna Do About It, God Street (WTF??!)!
  • The God Street Wine magic is still there. It's festering away inside of them. Inside all of us. It's in the water. It's in your water. All this GSW 'vine chatter, including a recent article in Relix where Lo points at the possibility of another reunion, is just throwing fuel on the fire. Rumors are swirling of something happening very soon. I feel news on the horizon and it pleases me.

    And so do these Bedroom Sessions. It's insanely brilliant to have some "new" God Street Wine just one-click away (it's that easy now!!! CLICK THAT SHIT!)-- but-- where the fuck are Dirty Little Secret and Light My Candles??? GSW, The Bedroom Sessions: 10 HUZZAHS!!!!

    01 Molly
    02 Straight Line
    03 Stranger
    04 Tina's Town
    05 6:15
    06 When She Go
    07 Change Your Mind
    08 Bring Back the News
    09 Henrietta
    10 Hungry Again
    11 Cheap Utah Blues
    12 Thirsty
    13 Epiphany
    14 Crashing Down
    15 Electrocute
    16 Stupid Hat


    01 Into the Sea
    02 Imogene
    03 Miss Leonardo
    04 Ballroom
    05 Lady Fingers
    06 Seeing Your Meaning
    07 New Eyes
    08 Vanity Street
    09 Funny Kind of Love
    10 Call it Love
    11 God Street
    12 Snake Eyes
    13 Whatcha Gonna Do About It
    14 Deep Drag
    15 Nothing Left to Lose


    ALSO: feel free to peruse & download some live GSW from the archive!

    * That's what it was called back then.
    ** The black mold probably helped.
    *** It used to snow in the Winter.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    moe., 1/30/10, the state theater, ithaca, ny

    moe., 1/30/10, state theater, ithaca, ny

    A couple of years ago, my good friends and fellow moe. running-crew members 4dice & Heidi sought an escape from the suffocating Tri-State region and headed north to Ithaca, NY. Ahh, the desolate and barren Finger-Lakes region. Never really a need to pass through Ithaca. However, a few months ago, a couple of us got an email demanding our presence when moe. stopped by the State Theater on 1/30/10. Twist my arm, assholes. I'm there.

    After moe.'s Roseland run and surprise Brooklyn Bowl show, I ended up skipping Stroudsburg, PA with work-related-burdens of "responsibility". Thusly, I also missed a KILLER Lazarus... in person. Fortunately, there was a live stream of the show and I at least got to hear it!!! Sounded huge! Totes jealous.

    William Shatner hooked me up with a sweet hotel room a few weeks in advance and 1/30 couldn't come soon enough. At noonish on Saturday, I swung through mid-town to pick up Mark, Jen & Scott Bernstein, and we headed into the tundra (with obligatory stop at Roscoe Diner for lunch & a sprinkle-cookie).

    11 degrees F, somewhere outside Ithaca (pic by Mark)

    By the time we got to 4dice & Heidi's, it was starting to get dark and right-cold. I got a quick tour of the house, we warmed our asses next to the wood heater, and we were back in the car to Downtown Ithaca. So full of excitement and 5 Hour Energy Drink was Mark, that after a minor disagreement with the box of tissues in my car, he savagely stomped it to death. WTF, dude? You could have just moved them. Mark was walking home.

    We grabbed a slice of pizza and I finally got to meet Flat Topper! He's taller in person.

    marquee or marky?

    The inside of the State Theater was kind of a clusterfuck. There were kegs and a slow-moving line of loud drunks against the back wall inside the theater. The lobby outside was full of hundreds of people shuffling towards no destination in particular. The architecture and design is gorgeous though and I was hoping the sound would follow suit (especially after "Brooklyn Bowl's 7-10 split of sound".). An anonymous source informed me that the heat was not turned on in the building til after 3pm. Additionally, the venue kept the back doors of the theater open for people to go outside and smoke, which was just sucking whatever heat there was- out of the building. All of these things + Ithaca = cold as fuck in the State Theater for the duration of the show.

    I met up with too many Jen/ns to count where they had staked a claim on al.side. Then a row of about 6 dudes, none under 6 feet tall, stood right in front of us. That's one way to never get laid, boys. moe. got onstage almost on time (in suits) and busted into Crab Eyes to get the crowd warmed up. Stranger Than Fiction was great, as was Time Again!!!! Love that this is back in rotation!

    At this point, I really couldn't see shit, so I headed over to chuck.side where 4dice, Heidi, el Herno, etc. had made camp. They were under the overhang and goddamn, it was loud under there. People were drunk as hell and competing with the band to be heard. Some asshole was even blowing a whistle. Awesome. I enjoyed what I could hear of Hector's pillow, but when it -> Don't Fuck With Flo, I was getting angry-- no one messes with Don't Fuck With Flo. I couldn't stand any more of this rudeness, so I found a nice spot towards the front on chuck.side, which was suspiciously vacant. Meanwhile, rob. was smacking the shit out of his new toy- a vintage, 4 string Fender he had purchased earlier that day. Right on!

    I was rockin' out for a little while when I noticed a kid a couple rows in back of me who was doubled over and sweating like a Priest in a Fun Zone ball-pit. The girl next to him looked worried but she wouldn't get him out of there. Obviously he had cleared the section out. Hadn't he impeded on the audience's good time enough? Chick wouldn't budge and I didn't feel much like getting puked on, so I asked the nice old lady next to the stage to get security on it. They showed up with their flashlights and took one look at the guy, carefully put their black latex gloves on, and proceeded with caution. As they lifted the tweaker up, it looked like he puked a lifetime's worth of chewed up strawberry bubba-licious onto himself. Hern suggested it could have been a full package of Starburst. He knows these things. Oh, coincidentally-- this all happened during Kids.

    Speaking of Amateur Hour-- some douche with a sparkly pig on a mop handle felt the need to block everyone's view of the front-center for much of SET I under the sad misconception that other people actually enjoy watching a bouncing stick of sparkle pig rather than the band they came to see. Then 2 other assholes climbed on people's shoulders and blocked more people's view. I'm getting a taser.

    Set break was fast, due to the impending 11:30pm curfew. I hung out back with the crew for Z0Z -> Buster. Both awesome.

    When -> So Long, I wandered off to find Mark. Good timing, as I got to enjoy the eeeeeeriest So Long ever from the soundboard. Sounded so freakin' good. Wow. Really though- goosebumps. A historical "what the fuck is going on here right now?" moe.ment. What a haunting space. The crowd was hypnotized. I fucking love moe.!

    Then Mark took me up to watch on the side of the stage, which was pretty fucking sweet, and where we stayed for the rest of the show. Mark wouldn't need to walk home after all. Captain America -> SOMP. Yay SOMP! Yodelittle was totes funky w/ the groove down-- love it. Also, I absolutely *loved* watching jim. and vin. go at it from so close on the side. A fresh set of eyes. Ridiculously awesome. Plane Crash. BAH!

    hi, rob.!

    Spine was quick, but a sweet encore. Dreamy at times.

    It was -9 degrees F when we left the show. -14 with wind chill ("at least it's windy."), but who's counting? We debated post-show with Jimkata, but chose instead: heat, cartoons, and cookies. Unfortunately [adult swim]'s Saturday lineup consists of nothing but anime. Not cool!

    Sunday we awoke for coffee and breakfast on the Commons at a shop owned either by an Amish cult or the Disney Corporation. Tasted good, regardless. On the way back to NYC, we stopped in Roscoe again, but this time hit up Buffalo Zach's for lunch and such. Thumbs up! Delicious! HUZZAH!

    Back to moe.-- the boys are ON FIRE!!! 4th moe. show in 8 days. What a week of smiles! How the hell am I supposed to wait til snoe.down for my next fix?* The State Theater may have been freezing, but moe. brought the heat! moe., the State Theater, Ithaca, NY: 9 HUZZAHS!

    What a fun road trip! I had a blast! I love moe.! Thanks to moe. for playing, 4dice & Heidi for the invite, Mark for the view and sprinkle cookie dispensing, Jen Bernstein for the I heart chuck. button, and especially Jenn Richie for keeping an eye on my jacket, which I was too unmotivated to retrieve from al.side during the show- you are a rockstar!

    SET I
    Crab Eyes
    Stranger Than Fiction
    Time Again
    Understand ->
    Hector's Pillow ->
    Don't Fuck With Flo ->

    SET II
    Zed Naught Z ->
    Buster ->
    So Long
    Captain America ->
    Seat Of My Pants
    Yodelittle ->
    Plane Crash

    Spine Of A Dog

    DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Scott Bernstein taped-- thanks, Scott!


    * or do I?

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    moe.wling, 1/26/10, brooklyn bowl, brooklyn, ny

    moe.wling, 1/26/10, brooklyn bowl, nyc

    "Awesome Gary was a 7-10 split." -moe.

    After the two night stand at Roseland, I was still jonesin' for a fix. I wasn't sure I could go a full 7 days (State Theater, Ithaca) without another moe. show. I realized how close Stroudsburg, PA is and considered a Wednesday night pick-me-up. But around 4pm on Monday, 1/25, those suit-crazy bastards announced a surprise show at Brooklyn Bowl on Tuesday! moe., YOU CRAZY!

    I couldn't sleep!!! <--- This is what happens!!! I had to be there. The rules: tickets were available at the door only, doors at 6pm, and a +1 for will-call was allowed. No one could agree on what time to get there. I thought 5-5:30 was a safe bet, but it was anyone's guess. Brooklyn Bowl is a venue/bowling alley owned/operated by the same wonderful folks who brought us the Wetlands all those years back, I was really excited to finally see it--- but I was more excited to see moe. play it.

    Tuesday afternoon was crawling by and at 3:07pm I got a text: it's salvo. just got here. not a single person here. what's your deal? 3:07 was stretching it, Salvo-- and that's why you win the Award for King Nerd Of the Day! For Your Outstanding Excellence in Nerdery! Well done, boy!

    I remained in phone communication with the troops and by 5:10pm was waiting on line with about 60 other moe.rons enjoying soundcheck. Gullo, el herno, & Josh arrived shortly thereafter. 6pm rolled around and the line was to the corner, we were safely in the first half--- but I was STILL paranoid... and I REALLY needed to pee.



    We finally got inside, claimed some couch space, and ordered some eats! Blue Ribbon Bakery does the food at Brooklyn Bowl and it's out-fucking-standing. I've heard great things about the fried chicken, but I went with a delicious chicken burger, el herno had the Slop Sloppy Joe and Gullo found gluten-free paradise on a plate. MANY HUZZAHS for the food and frozen margaritas! Awesome!

    Gullo went and saved some space right up front on al.side (thanks, Gullo!), so that's where we regrouped. Someone had put a cardboard cutout drawing of Master Shake with a big phatty on the stage and once (Gullo?) paired with an empty pint glass & $1, it became al.'s tip jar*.

    Peter Shapiro from Wetlands introduced moe. by saying, "We really wouldn't break (Brooklyn Bowl) in, until we had the boys from upstate. So, tonight- join us and let's break this motherfucker in! Please welcome moe.!" Cute. :) And so were moe.-- who were back in their dapper suits. Spectacular and yummy. I guess they're gonna try to do it all year!**

    moe. took the stage and started layering Tubing The River Styx -> The Pit. Dark and awesome--- except for the whole "not being able to hear chuck. (guitar or vocals) from al.side.". Like a 7-10 split of sound, if you will. Totes boo!! This was basically the *only* problem I had with Brooklyn Bowl-- the sound. Word from chuck.side was that you couldn't hear al. either. Brooklyn Bowl may need to cover up all that pretty exposed brick for the sake of the music. To be completely honest with you, I had a great fucking time at this show-- but from the front of al.side, we had to watch chuck. in order to hear him.

    Spaz, It, Okayalright-> Wormwood -> 32 Things, with the crowd singing loud enough to cover the missing vocals. We are a fun, adaptive, people.

    hern is mad at moe. for making him go out and drink on a Tuesday night.

    al. came out for SET II and filled his tip jar with water. al. is subtle.

    Tailspin shredded and then rob. declared, "I know why this place reminds me of the Wetlands, because you all used to go there... You're old... Take that." Aww. It comes from the heart.

    They broke into Camper Van's classic, Take the Skinheads Bowling which was spirited and fun. Tambourine RULES and I heart it.

    The Road was stellar, with al. playing the long single note into his guitar solo for approximately 30 seconds while he smiled and waited for the other guys to notice.

    -> Akimbo-- which I was really psyched to hear-- until I realized I still couldn't hear chuck. sing or play. WHAT IS AKIMBO WITHOUT SATAN??! It's kinda flat and it's missing it's black soul. But the other guys sounded fucking awesome and once again the moe.rons filled in the holes. :) McBain was huge -> Brent Black--- awesome, loud (except for chuck.), and enjoyable. vin. was absolutely destroyin' it (in a good way)!

    For the encore, Jim grabbed the mic for Farmer Ben- wow! Twice in 3 months? Then Awesome Gary brought us all back to Wetlands!!! I'm so psyched they busted this out! I hope it stays! Does this mean they'll start playing Ugly American again?!?

    On the way out of the venue, I got a tap on the shoulder. "Were you my neighbor at moe.down? Is your name Lynn?" IT WAS SPAGHETT! And he wanted to clear something up. He somehow stumbled upon my m.d.x review where I mistakingly labeled his friend who was decorating the New Mastersounds stage, as him. Well, you can see how I confused the two, as they were all wearing the same shirt all weekend... Also, in my defense, it was moe.down.

    But, here at, we're all about retractions & apologies. So, just to clear this all up-- I learned something at Brooklyn Bowl: Spaghett's friend is the one with the bloody gash in his leg and Spaghett is the one in the U-Melt hat! Nice to see you again, Spaghett! Thanks for leaving the compression sprayer at home (or in the car)!


    Annnyways, for all the sound problems-- that whole pesky "not being able to hear 1/5 members of the band", it was still an awesome time. The food was stellar, the margaritas were strong, moe. were wonderful & happy, al. collected approximately $2 in tips, and it's beautiful to see the Wetlands people back in action. Maybe next time I'll get to bowl! moe., 1/26/10, Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY: moe.***: 9 HUZZAHS! / sound: 3 huzzahs <-- I hope they can do something about that, cuz I'm planning on going back.

    ... now would I make it all the way to Saturday without suffering the m.DT's? Tune in next time to find out!

    SET I
    Peter Shapiro intro
    Tubing The River Styx ->
    The Pit ->
    Drums ->
    Spaz Medicine
    It ->
    Sticks & Stones ->
    Okayalright ->
    Wormwood ->
    32 Things

    SET II
    The Ghost Of Ralph's Mom
    Take The Skinheads Bowling
    The Road ->
    Brent Black

    Farmer Ben
    Awesome Gary

    Scott Bernstein taped--- and the beauty of this show's recording is that you can hear both chuck. AND al. together! It's like a whole new show! Thanks, Scott!


    * Maybe he should have passed it around.
    ** snoe.down outside set?
    *** chuck. is always awesome, whether I can hear him or not... though he is awesomer when I can.