October 31, 2008

As a DJ

Filed under: As a DJ — daz76 @ 9:05 am
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My blog needs more of a focus, a through line, a topic. Right now it’s just what I think about this or that, the bizarre poetry writing etc. I’ve been cool with that because that’s just how it is, that’s the blog. Now I’ve had an idea that might make this thing a bit more interesting. Or it might go the way of my one off comic strip that even I can’t remember the name of. Oh yeah, Rollo and Dave.

What I’m getting at is that I might start talking about my struggle to become a professional DJ. I already did it a long time ago (get paid to be a DJ) in the late 90’s but I kind of gave up on the idea upon moving to Austin. I tried at first, a bit, but it just never gelled. I said cool and got on with other things.

The other day I put together my modest DJ set up, two beat up but rock steady Technic 1200 turntables and a simple 2 channel DJ mixer. No effects, just EQ and a crossfader. That’s all running through a computer type sound system. It may not sound like much, but when you’ve listened to millions of loud musics sometimes it’s totally OK to not blast it. In fact the only way to know if a jam is really hot is to see if it rocks at lower volumes. Whatever. See I’ve already started. Point being, I love the mix, I love mixing records. I don’t love mixing MP3 files, I love mixing records. And cutting, scratching and transforming even. OK I don’t hamster or chirp, and I’m still perfecting my screw mix. I just really like mixing records.

So I think I will be talking more about my progress as I find a real DJ gig/s. Not just a one off party, I’m talking a residency. This may be the biggest, dumbest, hearing impairment causing mistake of my life, but I had self doubt about getting into writing poetry, and that shit got me laid.

I was a wacky house party DJ in NYC for many years in the mid 90’s, but from about 1997-2001 it was at least two nights a week at various spots in lower Manhattan and more specifically the East Village. I also played at many one off events and parties and it was not boring at all. In fact it’s blog worthy stories, maybe. We’ll see. I played for the New York Tibet Society two years in a row there were tons of enrobed monks there and at the end of the night they paid me. I also was nearly beaten up by a Jamaican gang boss for not playing his request. It was at a lounge called the Koop somewhere near St. Mark’s Place. It was broad daylight as he stepped to me in the DJ booth. I was hired to play the happy hour set at this reggae dive and I dropped the needle on Yabby U “Man of the Living” dub and he turned and went back his table where three beautiful women were keeping him company. No doubt there was a bit of theater in the mix, but I do remember a few instances of real fear because of DJ related activities. And I will get to them here I think.

Primarily though, I want to look at what’s going on now, here in Austin Texas. With me, a proverbial nobody whith no connections and a dream as I try to get some DJ love in this town. The memories are good and will provide balance to the inky black void that is my career as a DJ today as I write. Will my luck change? I hope so, but more importantly maybe you’re curious and that’s what will make this blog more fun.


October 26, 2008

Ode to a Rollergirl

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 1:05 am
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Hey little sister we’re not related
And you’re not just a new friend
Sharp darts and pool hall high jinx
Why should the fun ever end

I want to make out with your well placed tats
I want to roll the wheels on your shoes
When your arms go up to fix your hair
Muscles flex and we drink some booze

Little sister you are way too wise
And I’m too old for learning
The color of your hair and the way you smell
Is a like a Norwegian cathedral burning

Little sister you’re in pain these days
Death and bruises at the door
I like to listen when you are talking
Let’s go hang out at a thrift store

Little sister I call you sister
But we really met at a bar
I’m talking about that catholic roller girl
Who owns a bad ass old car

Little sister we’re not family
And I don’t want to be
You have all your brothers downtown
And I know who you really want to see

We step outside into the Texas night
Find peace from my pipe belt buckle
I just want you to skate and be happy
You’re beautiful when you chuckle

October 22, 2008

I early voted for Barak

I wasn’t going to, because Rasta doesn’t participate in the affairs
of Babylon, but I thought, oh well what the fuck. This one is different.
It was pretty easy and it took about fifteen minutes in total, mainly
because I had to change my address.

Barak Obama does not believe in gay marriage, and that’s just
stupid. He also claims a ridiculous religious viewpoint that
I find not only offensive but entirely nonsensical and dangerous.
So I didn’t vote for him because of his policy or beliefs.

The main reason I voted for him is because I want to see an African
American family in the white house. Also, I think America deserves to
be represented by a real statesman, and that he is.

Obviously the republican candidates are particularly nasty and vile,
so mainly my vote was against them. When it comes down to it I voted
for Obama because I think America will be a better place with more
lovely oil paintings of a handsome African American man hanging
prominently in all our federal buildings, just to annoy all the racist
judges and cops. That’s going to be so sweet.

October 21, 2008

Does excited count as happy?

Filed under: What does Daz76 have to say about it? — daz76 @ 5:39 am

I was talking to someone who always goes to great length to express how happy they are and that’s fine, I guess. It made me think, am I happy? And the answer was no, not particularly. Am I sad, no, not that either. I’m neither here nor there, really. Does feeling funny count as happy? What about feeling lucky? Is it really so great to be all happy and shit? Doesn’t it kind of mean that you know you’re soon going to feel this other way (unhappy) that totally sucks? I’m not trying to be Zen but just think about it.

I feel fine. Often ponderous or giddy. In the morning I am deeply resentful of reality until something unusual happens or I get a nice myspace message. I’m not trying to be this way, down the middle, just am. I’m looking at emotional extremes and how people use their mood to manipulate relationships, encounters, or conversation. Frankly in these fucked up times it’s a bit rude to emote such joyous feelings. What the fuck are you so happy about anyway? You need to volunteer at an old folks home and get some perspective on the difference between contentedness and this so called happiness. I’m happy when I look off my balcony into the hills of south Austin, but I’m not going to embroider it on a T shirt or talk about it in my blog.

Balance is what I’m getting at, and I’ve already railed against bad mood people, so now it’s time for their equally questionable counter part the, “I’m really happy, I’m so great right now, in a really good place in my life” people. Now is only temporary, and places change all the time. What those folks are really expressing is something more like, “I’m aware of great sorrow in my life and am narrowly avoiding it for the time being by standing over here”. It’s really just that obvious.

I’m going with excited. I’m excited about how many negative comments will be showing up on my blog into the future. I shit you not I get a kick out of the negative comments, and I’ve put forth much cannon fodder. So in the end I say fuck happy, can we settle for something less obnoxious like OK, normal, or pleased or something?

Happy, yeah, if you’re crazy, but in general, no, sorry I’m not buying it.

You’re like, “What’s the fuck with the poetry, man?”

Filed under: Poetry,What does Daz76 have to say about it? — daz76 @ 5:22 am
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Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just kind of fun and the last bastion of irreverence these days it seems. Obviously rap has become way more important than traditional poetry ever was since before they invented not talking with an accent. What I mean is rap is poetry, and it’s mad popular despite the fact that it’s poetry. So now that type of poetry is main stream, regular poetry goes underground again, right? I’m always down to go underground, so here we are. Writing poetry.

Actually this started just over a year ago when I challenged myself to write a poem a day for 100 days. It was a myspace stunt I came up with to get attention and I was trying to think what would be the most ridiculous thing to do. In retrospect I could have invented getting wasted and doing push ups on the internet, but instead I went with writing poetry.

It was an amazing exercise to be honest, and I think the final tally was around 45 or so poems. In that hundred days I became obsessed with the challenge and reporting on it to myspace but maybe like 2 people showed any interest. However, in that time I feel I actually became a poet. I’m not saying I became a good poet, just a poet. What I mean by that is I’m cool with writing poems in public as if it was a normal thing to do, and believe me, I realize it’s not (unless you are a rapper, which for some fucked up reason it’s not just normal, it’s highly profitable business). Also during that time last year I became incredibly embarrassed (with good reason, admittedly) about what I was doing and stopped writing. I was ashamed at what I was doing, all this thinking and shit, and like un-quitting smoking I eventually wrote (or computer generated and then edited) new poems. Ultimately I came back to laughing when writing, thinking of those critical faces who might be reading, and also the one or two folks who might have chortled with incredulousness or just simply taken the poems at face value and were like, “Cool, whatever”.

That’s pretty much it and If you think my work sucks please let me know. I am open to criticism, but at the same time I’m saying up front I’m in it for the laughs and the thrill of being a mental exibitionist. Someone reminded me last night that blogging is basically a form of public mental masturbation so I have no grand illusions of what’s going on here.

Ode to my Record Players

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 4:39 am
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Turntables as I  look at you
It gives my heart pause and wow
Silver gray case and Technics slip mats
Throwing down a new jam right now

When I bend the pitch bar lower
I’m slowing down the screw
Cut the needle on the one
Drop a new track on the two

The flickering red lights indicate
That the timing is on cue
I’m playing this music slow
Until the beats come all over you

The turntables are rock steady
Quartz locked with clean Concords
Getting up tomorrow morning
Going to buy more records

The bass is always too loud
Can’t make me turn the mix down
My 1200’s are so beautiful
As the kinky reggae pounds

October 18, 2008

Why all the long hair?

Filed under: What does Daz76 have to say about it? — daz76 @ 7:44 am
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Because I am getting old now. If I must be old, I must have long hair. Because I can. In honor of metal. In honor of Rastafari (if I get dreads) I and I guess. No seriously, I want to be an extra in a movie about the 70’s. I want to be mistaken for a Dokken roadie. I want to wear bandanas on my head out of nececity, not for fashion or gang realated reasons. I want to make bald people jealous. Asking a guy why long hair is like asking a chick why short hair. Dumb question. Once you start growing it, it’s hard to stop. It’s like you are on a journy that leads to the land of having long hair. It’s a destination oriented quest. You enter a different caste (for lack of a more ridiculous term) and acheive a new status in society because of long hair. Ladies love long hair. Long hair says I’m a hippy. Long hair says let’s get it on. Long hair, as exeplified by the great Willie Nelson, maketh the man. Long hair is rad.

October 17, 2008

Leather Pants

Filed under: Poetry — daz76 @ 6:57 am

I’m going to buy some leather pants
That is all I know
Why I couldn’t do it before
I just didn’t have the dough
Leather pants will rock the scene
And get into your eyes
At the end of the night
Or the end of the day
Leather pants are the reason
I was introduced to your inner thighs
Leather pants.

October 16, 2008

Bands I like despite the fact that I don’t really like them

Filed under: What does Daz76 have to say about it? — daz76 @ 5:17 am
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I just realized that there are a ton of bands I like despite the fact that I don’t like their music, so I thought it would be good to compile a list for analytical purposes to get to the bottom of this disheartening and unusual aesthetic conundrum.

1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs. When I first heard their music (what I mean by that is looked at the album art) I thought, that’s cool. But when I listen to them on youtube I just turn it off after 10 seconds because that girl is really annoying and gross. But I love their shit though, and Karen O is amazing. It’s like on the outside I’m saying yeah yeah yeah, but on the inside I’m saying no, no, no.

2. The Goat and the Occasional Others. The guy wears goat horns, shorts and a trench coat. The guitarists (one of whom happens to be the Jackson Pollock of modern day skateboarding) are sitting down. It’s rappy poetry and noisy art rock. I really like them, but I find it to be quite annoying too. See what I’m talking about there?

3. The Eagles. Classic example. I think I like the music at first but then I quickly realize that I really don’t like the music at all. It’s the same thing with

4. Pink Floyd. I really want to be into Pink Floyd and I force myself to listen to their music on the radio in the car, but again, inevitably I soon go searching for the hip hop station. I think this case is a little more clear cut and comprehensible. I like their T-shirts and think it’s mad cool they played Pompeii on acid or whatever, but otherwise I can’t stand them. But I still like them.

5. Sonic Youth. Again if I could just commit to being a Sonic Youth fan I would have so many more friends, albeit lame ones, but there would be more of them. Sonic youth are great on paper (about 30 years ago), but being forced to listen to their take on rock nowadays is as disturbing as listening to a Rod Stewart Christmas music CD. But I still like them, and plan on one day stealing what’s her name away from what’s his name, even though she’s just a bit mannish. But she’s hot too. Sonic Youth are a tough one, up there with REM if you know what I’m saying.

6. The Grateful Dead. This is a bit different, because the Grateful Dead are an example of a band that I actually like to listen to but at the same time I will have nothing to do with them for obvious reasons, right? They suck. But they’re amazing. But ultimately they suck, that’s just how has to be. I kind of feel the same way about Rancid and Phil Collins.

I could go on and on with this and frankly I have decided that if I could only ever listen to one desert island disc for the rest of my life it would be Natty Dread from Bob Marley and the Wailers circa 1974. If that was the situation, me living on an island with nothing but a CD player, a lifetime supply of batteries for said CD player, and a solar powered waterproof soundsytem Natty Dread is the disc that I want around. I would learn how to sing exactly like Bob Marley (and because I’m stranded on an island I will be growing dreadlocks anyway) and eventually would become the Bobby McFerrin of that record. I used to think my desert disc would be the 1986 record Electric Cafe from Kraftwerk, but I’ve already committed that one to memory, and it only took 22 years.

So in summary, I have no fucking idea. It seems I like some bands that I actually hate, and conversely I hate some bands that I really like. Obviously it all comes down to window dressing and presentation elements but in the end it’s just one of those things. One of those completely illogical, slightly ridiculous and frankly rather inane things.

October 15, 2008

Graffiti is about style first

Filed under: What does Daz76 have to say about it? — daz76 @ 3:13 am
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I am always kind of WTF? when I see shitty graffiti in prominent places. There are those that might disagree, and I get the beauty of pure destruction as much as the next guy but in my humble opinion graffiti is just as much about style as it is getting up. Probably more so. What I mean is that I’m judging you on how cool your tag or piece looks first, before I consider the placement. OK sure if I see you up on a sign 30 feet over a busy four lane highway you get instant props for being brave, but unless you follow through with something really nice looking, you immediately become a brave person/shitty graffiti writer and that actually kind of makes your whole existence a huge and dangerous wast of time. You could be channeling all that bravery into being an awesome bullfighter or paratrooping green beret. Or better yet, the guy who gets paid to paint those giant murals and ads that are probably designed in a basement studio on a mac by some sickly nerd-bro with those round nerd glasses that make your eves look huge. And no, he is probably not very brave, but he is probably a good artist. Don’t lose heart though, there are millions of ways to get paid just by being brave. Rob a bank for fuck sake, just don’t write stupid looking graffiti.

I haven’t been to Italy in a long time but I always hear about how grossed out cities like Rome are with graffiti. People say, oh it could be such a beautiful place if it wasn’t for all the terrible graffiti. Well first up, graffiti is an Italian word that when translated means something more like “making a mark on something” than “making a pretty mark on something”. Rome has probably always looked like it does now, just different and obviously with less cars at certain points and nobody wore pants back then. I’d have to consult a historian to back that up but there is no doubt some basis in why we use a word of Italian origin to talk about guys writing their names on walls with spray paint.

Why do I care? I really don’t. It’s just a visceral joy I get from seeing what people come up with to express themselves anonymously and publicly at the same time. I’m going to stop here. My point was made like twenty sentences ago when I suggested that you should get good first (and not just good but really really good) and then take it to the streets. Otherwise you’re just annoying my eyes, wasting both of our time, risking your life, and inevitably inviting an unpleasant run in with the cops. To those of you who are reading who feel confident in your graffiti skills, by all means go out and kill the streets. You have my blessing and you are an inspiration to Juxtapose reading armchair tag bangers everywhere. To the rest of you aspiring street legends, consider what I’m saying. I just wanted to add that there is some really awesome bad graffiti too, that needs to be factored into the mix. Basically it’s all very esoteric and there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this. I’m just proposing a more considered aproach to graffiti writing for a cooler world.

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