jwgh: (killdevils)
I just came across this correspondence from May 30, 2003.
From: Christopher Monti
To: Jacob Haller
Subject: Re: flower names/band names
Date: Fri, 30 May 2003 10:46:41 -0400


I kind of like 'The Killdevils'


> From: Jacob Haller
> To: Christopher Monti
> Subject: flower names/band names
> Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 21:54:38 -0400
>
> Newcomb's Wildflower Guide doesn't appear to have its own website, but its
> Amazon entry at <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0316604429/realtimerenderin/102-4068365-5152109>
> has some sample pages including the full index, so perhaps I'll give that a look over.
>
> The things I wrote down as possible band names could be on their own or as the fill-in-the-blank part of 'The ____ Blues Band' (the
> latter was what I was thinking of when I selected them). They are:
>
> Ocanee Bell
> Trout Lily
> Wake Robin
> Checkerberry
> King Devil
> Pipewort
> Swamp Candle (or Swamp Candles)
> Tree Frog <- not a flower
>
> See you tomorrow,
> jwgh
This ended what appears to have been around six months of discussion of what our band should be called. (I found a note from the begining January 2003 with some proposed band names. I see that one of the ones I proposed was 'Little Tractor Company', so all in all I think the Killdevils is a pretty good name.) I came up with the idea of looking at plant names when I remembered that Chris used to be in a band called Blue Toad Flax and named his first album 'Swampland Flowers'.

Finding this helps clarify some historical questions about the band. For instance, I wasn't sure if we had settled on a name yet or not when we had the Worst Show Ever (in March 2003 on Saint Patrick's Day -- apparently we were still a couple of months away).
jwgh: (Default)


Edit: Mission accomplished.
jwgh: (killdevils)
I asked my upstairs neighbor Kasey Henneman to make some posters for the New Year's Eve show, so she made these multi-colored silk-screened and stenciled posters that are pretty much amazing. She made about 30 of them, so tomorrow, before I head up to Massachusetts to visit family, I'll be going around putting some up ...

... and I also made my own version (a pale imitation) for use outside or in places where the full-sized, full-colored posters won't work.

Pictures of both beneath the cut. )

When I dropped one of Kasey's posters off at Nick-a-Nees, the bartender proclaimed it 'awesome' and said he would steal it if he could.
jwgh: (accordion santa)
As I've mentioned on a few occasions, Chris Monti and I have been booked to play at Nick-a-Nees (75 South Street in Providence's Jewelry District) for New Year's Eve.

We are pretty excited about this, and we've been working on a bunch of new material.

For instance: There are three songs that Chris wanted to play when he was in high school which we have now learned and arranged for guitar and accordion, and we plan to play them ALL on the 31st: She's an Angel by They Might Be Giants; The KKK Took My Baby Away by the Ramones; and Take the Skinheads Bowling by Camper van Beethoven.

I imagine most people have parties to go to and whatnot, but if you're around and want to stop by, please do! According to Chris there will be a lot of food (and, of course, champagne), and I think it will be a lot of fun.
jwgh: (killdevils)
Today was the first Killdevils practice in a while -- while I've had some practices recently, they've mostly been for the Ballad of America material we played on Saturday with my cousin David.

It was a pretty relaxed practice and, while we didn't do as much playing as we usually do, I think it was good. We started off by discussing what new material we wanted to play on New Year's Eve, which then gradually transformed into a more general discussion of songs we might want to learn in general. Here's the list I wrote down, with songs that we actually played through tonight in bold:

* Smokestack Lightning
* Killing Floor
* Shotgun Guard
* Worried Man Blues
* Werewolves of London
* Heat Wave
* Take the Skinheads Bowling
* Auld Lang Syne
* Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Any More
* Avocados and Beer
* Deep River Blues
* Working on the Building
* The Way You Do The Things You Do
* Hesitation Blues

Then, since I'm going to start playing the accordion at Killdevils shows, I wanted to put together a list of accordion songs we could do. (Not that we would do all of these in a single show.) We came up with this list (which overlaps with the above somewhat):

* Take the Skinheads Bowling
* Auld Lang Syne
* The KKK Took My Baby Away
* She's An Angel
* Avocados and Beer
* Long Black Veil
* Saint James Infirmary
* Ring of Fire

I'm looking forward to tomorrow (Thursday)'s show.
jwgh: (Van Halen)
This is the second in a series of posts that are in response to some questions from [livejournal.com profile] palmitas268. This one deals with where I like to play.

answer )
jwgh: (Van Halen)
This is the second in a series of posts that are in response to some questions from [livejournal.com profile] palmitas268. This one deals with how I select my music.

answer behind a cut )
jwgh: (Van Halen)
[livejournal.com profile] palmitas268 asked me some questions about my musical career, and the response is turning out to be pretty long, so I'm going to split it into parts and post it to my livejournal over the course of the day. The first question is about my influences and inspirations.

my response )

Thanks!

Nov. 10th, 2006 09:34 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
[livejournal.com profile] crazyanimallady, [livejournal.com profile] palmitas268, [livejournal.com profile] alexandrahawk, and [livejournal.com profile] peachcrush came to the Killdevils show last night. Thanks!

The show was fun. The last few times we've played at Nick-a-Nees Chris has been experimenting with new PA setups, and last night was the first time that it really all came together. We did a few fairly new songs, and a few old songs that we haven't done in a while. I had a really nice time.

A couple of musicians that Chris met recently sat in for a couple of songs at the beginning of the third set. They signed up for our mailing list, and when they left later, one of them, Josie Crosby, asked me if I had a mailing list. "Not really," I said. "Well, you should make one, and you should put me on it," she said. So that was a nice little ego boost.
jwgh: (killdevils)
Tonight was an interesting night. It was my first night playing the new keyboard, which worked out OK, although I think we need to fine tune its EQing so it sounds its best.

While we were setting up, a guy named Greg asked if he could sit in for a song (he wanted to sing). We were agreeable, so after we did Hickory Wind in the first set Greg came up and sang a B.B. King tune (unfortunately I don't remember which one, or his last name, or much else about him except that he lives in Connecticut). He was an excellent singer and he signaled changes to us nicely; it was really fun.

CMonti had mentioned earlier that he had talked to Paul Geremia and suggested that he stop by and maybe play harmonica on a few tunes. (Chris saw Paul do this once with the Last Minute Blues Band at Trinity Brewhouse and it stuck in his mind.)

But the evening wore on and he didn't show up, so it seemed like it wasn't going to happen. In the last set, Chris looked at the set list, turned to me, and said, "All right, I was about to say I think we're good for about two more songs, and there are two songs left on the set list, so that's good." I nodded. We played 'Johnny B. Goode' and 'Hybrid Car' and ended just about exactly at midnight.

But about two-thirds of the way through the last song, Paul walked in, and after the song he wandered over to say 'Hi'. Chris asked him if he wanted to sing a song or two; Paul said sure, if we thought nobody would mind (at which point Chris and I looked around the near-empty bar and said we didn't think that would be a problem) and Chris handed him his guitar.

At this point I wasn't totally clear on what was supposed to happen -- was Chris going to play harmonica (but he didn't have a microphone), were we going to trade songs, or what? Paul wondered aloud what song we should do. I thought about what might be appropriate and suggested 'In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down', which is a mellow Leroy Carr song that I should record sometime. Paul said he wasn't sure if he knew that one, so I started playing and singing it, and he accompanied me on guitar. In hindsight, this seems like an act of great chutzpah, but at the time, I was just confused as to what was going on. Anyway, it went well. After a minute or two Chris wandered off to play pool with his girlfriend.

Paul then played a few songs. It didn't feel right to me to get up from behind the piano and become part of the audience -- it was our show, after all, and Paul presumably had come to play with us, not to entertain us. On the other hand, Paul normally plays by himself, and the songs he plays tend to be full of the changes in tempo, odd phrasings, and idiosyncratic chord changes that characterize a lot of solo acoustic guitar blues. Still, I felt like I at least had to give it a shot.

I think the first song he did was a Blind Blake song, "Too Tight". After a little while around I determined that I should mostly play as little left hand rhythmic stuff as I could get away with (Paul provided the rhythm on the guitar, so my playing there would be at best redundant and at worst incorrect). Instead, I concentrated on playing supporting stuff in the right hand. It worked OK.

While this was going on, I looked over and saw Chris playing pool and I thought to myself, "You know, while this is arguably an amazingly great thing that is happening right now, and one which I will remember for some time, I think I will still need to kill Chris as a matter of principle."

Next he did 'Hesitating Blues', which I had actually played for the first time at the wedding I went to last weekend; the groom, Larry, had played it for me and told me the chords, which are strange and beautiful, starting in a minor key and switching in midstream to a major key.

Next, an extremely drunk guy at the bar (one of about three people in Nick-a-Nees at this point, as people had largely cleared out by 11 or so) shouted, "Hey, do you guys take requests?" Paul said, "What do you want to hear?" The guy shouted, "Do you know any Kinks songs?" Paul then embarked on this complicated, freeflowing blues song which apparently was in fact a Kinks song, though not one I recognized. (The guy at the bar seemed to know it, though, and cheered appreciatively.) At then end of the song, Paul said to him, "That's the only Kinks song I know!"

Finally, Paul turned to me and said, "Hey, do you know 'Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out'?"

That's a great old song that has been played by a bunch of people; looking in iTunes I see that, without really trying, I've accumulated versions by Nina Simone, Dave Van Ronk, Bessie Smith, Louis Jordan, and Pine Top Smith. Back in the early 90s, when my parents were part-owners of a bar named Gilrein's in Worcester, that was one of the songs that I used to fool around with on the beat-up piano there. But that was a while ago, so it was fortunate that on practice Wednesday Chris told me that he was working on it himself (inspired by the Van Ronk recording) and asked me if I knew how it went, so I ran through the chords and refamiliarized myself with them.

Which is to say that I was prepared, which was a good thing, because that song has six chords in it, and it's not something I would have been able to figure out quickly by ear.

So we did that song and called it a night. It was 12:30 pm. Paul said kind things about my piano playing and recounted how he had just gone to a blues festival in Poland, where he had mostly been stuck in his hotel room because the airline had lost a bunch of his luggage and the TSA had broken the neck off of his six-string guitar (they took everything out of the case, put it back in so that the neck had no support, wadded up the towel that had cushioned it and stuffed it into a corner of the case, and put a 'This bag has been inspected by the TSA' notice in it).

After that we packed up and went home. I got in around 1:30 or so, and went to bed at 2 am. And now I am writing this!

Tonight I'll be playing at Cafe Zog on Wickenden around 9 pm or so if anyone wants to stop in. (CMonti and Josh Lerner will be playing before me starting at 8 pm.)
jwgh: (killdevils)
Chris and I have been hired to play at Whole Foods (the one at 601 North Main Street) tomorrow from 5 to 7 pm.

We'll be playing with no amplification, and I will be playing the guitar only (no piano or accordion). Also, we've been asked to play only blues songs.

This should be really weird. But hopefully fun. I think my biggest concern is that we will start laughing in the middle of a song and won't be able to stop.

sleepy!

Jul. 28th, 2006 09:16 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
I expect to be away from the Internet for most of today, just so's you know.

The show last night was fun. Having a four-piece band for the second set was something else; definitely a different feel from it just being me and Chris. Kip sang harmony on both of the songs I sang, which was very cool.

The place was pretty full for the second set and the crowd was excited and appreciative, so I was thinking that we should do some pretty high-energy stuff during set #3, but during the intermissions the place totally cleared out -- there were some people at the bar watching TV, and there were a couple of people at tables, but other than that the place was empty and the folks at the bar weren't really paying attention to us. So we quickly switched plans and played to entertain ourselves, which was pretty fun. We did get some applause towards the end of the second set with 'Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep' and 'Folsom Prison Blues'.

No sign of poster mutilation guy.

Rusty the bartender told Chris that they did pretty good business at the bar, so hopefully we'll get some more shows there in August. (The owner was also there for the second set, which was both the best set and the time when the most people were there, so that's good too.) Chris is going to try to get August 10 and 24, but we'll see how that goes.

I think I saw Lucky 57, which is Kip and Sue's regular band, once a while ago, but I should try to get out and see them again. I guess their next show isn't until September 9, though. One of the reasons Chris suggested having them sit in last night was so the owner of Nick-a-Nees would get a chance to check them out; hopefully she liked what she saw and, if so, maybe she'll give them a show there sometime.

While half asleep last night, Cheap Trick's song 'I Want You To Want Me' kept going through my head and I kept coming up with variations (hate you to hate me, kill for you to kill for me [the 'Strangers On A Train' lyric], etc.). This is a game you can play at home as well! It is harder than it sounds, or at least that's the case when you're half asleep.

I should maybe go back to bed (I'm taking a sick day today) but I think I'll call [livejournal.com profile] cgoldfish first to see what's going on.

creeeepy

Jul. 26th, 2006 02:05 am
jwgh: (carsign)
I put up a bunch of posters last week advertising this week's show. This actually seems to help bring people in.

But I've learned that you can't just put posters up and expect them to stay up -- people put other posters over them, or they take them down, or they get damaged. So whenever I've gone to an area where I've previously put up posters I try to bring a few new ones along to replace any that need replacing.

Today I was on Wickenden Street with [livejournal.com profile] chaos_are_me and she pointed out that someone had cut my face out of one of the posters. Chris Monti's face was left unscathed (except by the weather, which my posters don't handle all that well).

It occurs to me that this person might come to the show on Thursday. Wouldn't that be interesting?

it burns

May. 22nd, 2006 10:26 am
jwgh: (Default)
When I went to the plant sale on Saturday, I was good and remembered to wear my hat. On Sunday, though, I forgot to do so, and the result of that (and my thinning hair up top) is that my scalp is slightly sunburned today, a fact I learned in the shower. Ow. Oh well.

The shows on Saturday and Sunday were fun. On Saturday, a friend of Chris's, Emily Dignan, sat in for a few songs, singing and playing guitar (I switched to accordion for these songs), which was fun -- she has a beautiful voice and knows a bunch of great folkie songs. Sunday I got there early and watched Chris and Emily performed, then did my set and played for about 50 minutes (all on guitar). [livejournal.com profile] katrinkles and Greg came to the plant sale on Saturday and heard a little of our set, which was nice.

A rainbow behind the traffic lightsOn Sunday I went to dinner with [livejournal.com profile] katylady74. We got trapped in Paragon for a little while by the rain, but in return we got to see a nice big double rainbow. Also on Sunday went to [livejournal.com profile] plant_geek's house for the weekly watching of Lost (although this was actually the first one I'd been to in a few weeks) -- also fun; [livejournal.com profile] plant_geek's a great hostess.

I helped [livejournal.com profile] cgoldfish and [livejournal.com profile] wazroth do some demolition on Saturday and Sunday and was treated to dinner, with the result that I got to experience both some nice Indian food and the worst service I've had since the last time I went to Mo Joe's.

Finally, [livejournal.com profile] doctroid provided a link to an entertaining story: http://mightygodking.livejournal.com/247132.html

Show notes

Mar. 31st, 2006 01:11 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
This show was very random, but I 'm not sure if I can describe its randomness very well. We'll see.

After we set up, and before we went on, a woman yelled a request to us. Her friend came over and said, "My obnoxious friend wants you to play Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues." Chris said, "Sure, we'll do that first." "Oh, that's a real song?" she replied, surprised.

But Chris realized that he had left his harmonica rack in the car, so did the first song solo -- I ended up picking 'Leaving Home', which is a sort of a take on the 'Frankie and Albert'/''Frankie and Johnny' story. Then we did 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues'. Then we actually did a couple of songs from the set list, 'That'll Never Happen No More' and 'Folsom Prison'; after that, the drunk woman asked us if we could do 'From a Buick 6' (another Dylan song, but one we don't know), then asked us if we knew any James Taylor songs (*cough*), then wanted us to do some more Johnny Cash. So I sang 'Sam Hall', which is a song from Johnny Cash's last album which involves telling the audience to go to hell a lot, which is kind of fun. Then we did '"Pumpkin, Mrs. Farnsworth"', which was a request from Kári. While I was singing that song, I glanced over at Chris's girlfriend and noticed that she looked completely mortified. Feeling a little guilty about this, I suggested that we next do 'Tear My Stillhouse Down', which I happen to know she likes a lot, so we did. Then ... I don't even know, except we did an abbreviated version of 'Cabbagehead', which is a song I don't think we've played in over a year, and ended with 'I Believe To My Soul', which drunk woman tried to sing along with.

The thing that struck me about that set is that someone who listened to it would probably not have described our band as a blues band. That's not really what would have come to mind.

The second set was relatively normal and we pretty much stuck to the set list, except that Chris had us do this thing that he sometimes like to do where you start with one song ('Liberty' by the Grateful Dead in this case), get partway through it, then segue to another song (Chris's own 'The Local Expatriate'), then segue back. It's a jam band kind of thing to do. (It's not something we typically try in the Killdevils, because two players doesn't really constitute a jam band.)

[livejournal.com profile] saucypunk and Kári came to the show (which is greatly appreciated -- thanks!) and [livejournal.com profile] saucypunk asked me if I could play 'Avocados and Beer', since I wrote it for her and yet she had never heard it played live. At the beginning of the third set I was supposed to do three songs solo, so I played that song on piano for the first time ever (making possibly more mistakes even than when I played it live on accordion for the first time), then did 'Milk Cow Blues', and then I couldn't think of anything else to play so I did 'Watching Killer Robots Eat Your Head'. Then Chris came out and we did a bunch of rock & roll songs -- Naked Man, Down By The River, Johnny B. Goode -- and some uptempo blues songs -- Big Road Blues, Caldonia, and Bourgeois Blues. We did the fast songs really fast and it was all really energetic and fun. After Bourgeois Blues (or arguably during it) I was pretty wiped out, so we ended with a couple of slow songs, 'Sin City' and 'Waterbugs', which I felt like I was just the right level of exhausted to do really well -- that might have been the best performance of 'Waterbugs' I've ever done. (What makes a good performance of Waterbugs, you might ask? I think the main thing is to sing it with complete sincerity and resist the urge to speed up.)

It was a good show, although kind of a bewildering one. It is nice to have things shaken up from time to time. I think I will sleep well tonight.

CMO update

Mar. 16th, 2006 06:02 pm
jwgh: (killdevils)
Chris Monti just called me. He's at exit 1 on Route 95 in Rhode Island, so we should be good to go for tonight's show at Nick-a-Nees. I think he was in the Carolinas this morning, so that's quite a drive. Anyway:

Proposed set lists )
jwgh: (killdevils)
Fun show last night (am I getting repetitive?), despite a couple of technical glitch (the most serious being that the battery in my guitar's pickup died towards the end of the second set). A few knitters showed up and brought friends, which was very nice, and some of them stuck it out until the bitter end, which is impressive for a weeknight. One of [livejournal.com profile] crazyanimallady's friends, Jess, asked us for our autographs at the end of the evening.

Between the first and second sets, Chris informed me that the Providence Journal music critic had just walked in. I wasn't entirely sure that I was glad Chris told me this, but I did decide to change the three songs that I was going to do by myself at the beginning of the set; whereas previously I had been thinking 'Now here's a song I haven't done for a while' I instead decided to do the songs that I think I actually do pretty well: 'Leavin' Home' (which is Charlie Poole's take on 'Frankie and Johnny', although I've never heard Charlie Poole's version -- this is another song I learned from my father), 'That'll Never Happen No More', and 'Hybrid Car'.

The ProJo guy was probably just there for a beer, but he was there for the whole of the second set, so he got an earful of us anyway.

Sometime today I have to remember to get the piano out of my car.

planning

Feb. 16th, 2006 12:09 pm
jwgh: (killdevils)
As usual, what we actually play will probably differ from this.
set lists for tonight )

Show notes

Feb. 12th, 2006 05:50 am
jwgh: (killdevils)
I'm still not tired, so a few quick notes about last night's show.

Turnout was pretty light, I assume because people were worried about getting caught in the snow. (In the event, there wasn't any snow until 11 or so, and that was really light.) Chris did a pretty good job publicizing it, and there were several occasions when I would mention the show to someone only to learn that they had already heard about it through the grapevine, so I don't think there was a problem there.

Other than that, things went really well. Chris and I played for about 45 minutes and had a good time, Paul showed up on time and played from 8:30 to 10 pm (including a few songs on my piano), doing a really good job -- we had a good time and the folks who came did too.

A note about the economics of all this )

I sold two copies of my CD, one to a guy named Steve who comes to a lot of these shows and one to Caleb, who also provided me with a couple of CD labels a couple of weeks back.

anecdote

Feb. 3rd, 2006 03:02 pm
jwgh: (arrrr)
Last night Chris and I performed a few songs which we had never played in public before. One of those songs was 'Walk the Line'.

We got through it OK (I sang), but it wasn't particularly exciting, so I thought afterwards that we should probably give it a rest for a while. But no big deal, we moved on to the next song, etc.

At the end of the set break the jukebox volume get turned back up and the songs that had been ordered up before we started playing became audible. What was playing? Johnny Cash singing 'Walk the Line'.

(and before the end of the set break we got to hear it again, too.)

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jwgh: (Default)
Jacob Haller

October 2015

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