I must say that this blog has taken a very long time to put together. Occasionally I come up with a concept that just lays itself out nicely over a couple of months time -- although that's the exception, not the rule. I've been collecting these images for well over a year now...
Patrick Hambrecht of the unique Brooklyn rock group Flaming Fire has a really wonderfully written article in the latest Vice magazine (published online yesterday) entitled "The Past, Or Three Reasons I Quit My Band and Started Over." In the piece he writes, "I was in a band called Flaming Fire. I recently ended this band." The charismatic center of the self-described "spooky electronic chant" band / metaphysical arts collective has created an extremely entertaining piece of writing in which he draws analogies to the cartoon G-Force and also Syd Barrett. What he wrote follows and will certainly entertain anyone who has ever been in a band:
"When I was a kid, my favorite show was G-Force, an anime about "Five secret agents trained to fly like birds." They traveled around in a huge space plane that could turn into a phoenix, and everyone on the show had a cool vehicle that detached from the phoenix. Mark, the leader, had a jet fighter; the robot sidekick had a subterranean drill; the girl had a scooter; the cool guy had a racecar. The only guy who didn't have a cool vehicle was Tiny. Tiny was the fat dork who drove the big plane, and waited for everyone to come back from their awesome solo missions. When you start a band, you think you're going to be Syd Barrett, and everyone else will let you get drunk, do lots of drugs and be fun while they pack drums and set up gigs and do all the boring stuff. But that's not going to happen. Because you're the band leader, the band is your thing, not theirs. Your drummer may be in eight bands, your bassist may be a painter, your lady vocalist may be a cartoonist, but you won't have time for those things yourself. You have to set up gigs, book tours, cart them around in a van you buy, smooth over arguments between members, try to save money from gigs for recording sessions, mail out promo CDs over your lunchbreak. You're not Syd Barrett; you're a secretary. You're Tiny."
Greg Weeks is an exceedingly multi-talented musician at the forefront of the so-called "Folk Revival" that's been going on for several years now with his solo albums, including this year's The Hive, and his band Espers. He is also single-handedly helping keep alive the art of analog recording with his studio in Philly, Hexham Head. AND he has his own label, Language of Stone, distributed by Drag City, for which he plays A&R man. Then there is also Greg's other baby, The Valerie Project, which involves a group of Philadelphia musicians who created a soundtrack to play along live at screenings of the 1970 cult Czech film Valerie and Her Week of Wonders and debuted back in 2007. Between all these various artistic endeavors, it's a wonder Greg had time to chat here! Read on to hear about the thrilling new projects Greg is taking on, where he finds inspiration, and what songs are currently defining his life, among other things.
Miss Ess: What was it that got you into music in the first place?
Greg Weeks: I'd have to say radio ... or the Solid Gold dancers. Probably radio.
ME: Can you describe the exact moment?
At the Southland Museum in Invercargill, New Zealand a rare and endangered native reptile, a tuatara, has become a father, possibly for the first time, at the age of 111.
Henry the tuatara was thought to be past his prime -- you would think -- especially since he has shown no interests in females since his arrival the Southland Museum in 1970. But last July Henry mated with Mildred, herself no spring chicken either; she’s in her 70’s. Mildred laid 12 eggs and this week after 223 days of incubation, 11 baby tuataras successfully hatched.
According to the Museum, Henry’s new found vitality may be due to a 2002 operation to remove a cancerous tumor under his genitals. Known for his foul moods and aggressive behavior towards other tuataras -- 25 years ago, Henry bit off Mildred's tail when the two were put together for mating purposes -- Museum tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley said that Henry has had a "major personality transplant."
Tuataras are found only in New Zealand and are sometimes referred to as "living fossils." They resemble lizards and are the only surviving members of a species that walked the Earth some 220 million years ago. Today most tuataras live in predator-free sanctuaries or on New Zealand’s offshore islands. They can live between 150 and 250 years and usually reach sexual maturity at about 20. This coming spring the newly rejuvenated Henry is expected to mate with another tuatara, Lucy, one of three females he currently lives with -- sounds like a basic cable reality TV show …