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Feb 27, 06 06:27 PM

The Fresh New Specs.


Bought a pair of glasses at Sol Moscot.


I dig 'em. Big round and groovy. Good glasses are like eye makeup. I have little tiny faux-Asian eyes, I like how specs accentuate them.

I was a non-specs guy when Soul Coughing was just playing clubs, and then I got this pair I liked, and by the time we were taking photos for the CD jacket, I was wearing them constantly. Mistake. When the record came out, every other word you read was geek, geek, geek, nerd, geek.

I guess the sexy geek paradigm is big with some, but the word chafes me.

More so than my other categorical bete noire, "beat poet."

Posted by Mike at 6:27 PM

Feb 22, 06 11:18 AM


mikael 1.jpg

A guy I met sitting on a ridge overlooking Asmara, who told me about being troubled by voices in his head. "They don't want me to do my life."


Despite the tale of mental illness, he's a very elegant guy, in a very Eritrean way.

ďI live in Israel for 13 years, I do construction work. But then Iím not well, I canít work. So I come here. I hear voices. Many voices. They talk to me. They donít want me to do my life. They make me very nervous. [he mimes voices outside his head with hands darting around] Not inside my head, but here: they talk to me.

"When you are here, they donít speak, but when you leave they repeat everything you say to me. They tell me; you canít work. You are not good enough. They make me very anxious and nervous. They are like a mirror. I am not happy. I take pills but nothing works. They donít want me to do my life.

"I stay with my brother. I tell him about the voices, but it is difficult to explain. He says, 'Why don't you work?'

"I go to Sudan in í76, then to Israel in í79.

"When do you come back from Keren? When you come back, I will be here. I am here every morning. Do you have any money for me?Ē

I give him 100 Nakfa. Further small talk.

Me: I donít speak any language but English.

Mikael: ďEnglish is enough.Ē

Posted by Mike at 11:18 AM

And We're Out Here Havin' Fun in the Warm California Sun.


A few days at "Knapsack" Pete McNeal's house.


Pete and I are here, at his little house in West Los Angeles, going through a batch of new tunes. The idea is to hard-wire the songs to the beats--I'm looking to overhaul my approach to guitar--having for years been an entire band as a mere guitarist, the Haughty tunes were a situation where every instrument had to come to the guitar part. I want to shake this up.

Pleasant here of course. I have difficulties with Los Angeles. Mostly the light, intensified through the lens of the pollution. My friend Tina Fallon descrbed it as "Boring, in both senses of the word." It's true. Sometimes I feel like I've gotten a beatdown from the harsh whiteness of it.

But the music is coming together. I'm toying with the idea of getting a guitar player. Guitar players are difficult, sonically, for me. Many of them are too locked into genres, even those who can switch effortlessly between genres, and a lot of the cats with true style have trouble being in an ensemble. What I want is a guy who sounds like ME, except REALLY GOOD.

We ate at Chuck's house in North Hollywood. News: Chuck is a GREAT COOK. I had no idea. Oh my God, a culinary beatdown. Best ribs I've ever eaten in my life. And he made a cheesecake. I've lived in New York since the 80s, and yet, no empty hyperbole, this was one of the best slices of cheesecake I've ever had. It was like, the ribs were astonishing, but the cheesecake, well, now you're just fucking with me.

Posted by Mike at 11:06 AM

Feb 12, 06 08:44 AM

Blizzard Mnemonic.


It's snowing like hell in New York. Big flakes! I love the big flakes.


The TV keeps flashing a list of the biggest blizzards in New York history, and one date sticks out for me: January 8, 1996. I remember the day because I left Brooklyn to go and buy my first Magnetic Fields and Elliott Smith CDs. I saw them both, amazingly on the same bill, at a tiny club a few days beforehand. So January 8, 1996 is pretty much the day my music took a sharp left turn towards Skittish.

It was so lovely. The East Village was so white, and silent--you could hear another guy trudging in the snow two blocks away.

Posted by Mike at 8:44 AM

Feb 8, 06 01:43 PM

Eureka Moment.


Apparently the reason everybody's telling me that Sufjan Stevens is awesome is because Sufjan Stevens is awesome.

Posted by Mike at 1:43 PM

Feb 6, 06 10:54 PM

Issuance of New Nicknames.


Pete McNeal is now "Knapsack" Pete McNeal.

Chuck is now The Legend.

Posted by Mike at 10:54 PM

Feb 5, 06 10:30 PM

Hi from the Boat.


I'm blogging on a cruise ship in the middle of the sea; nothing but water for miles.


We're doing the Dave-Matthews-and-friends cruise; a bunch of bands, G. Love, Ozomatli, N. Miss Allstars, Lucas from Blue Merle, Soulive, Bob Weir, and others, played on boats that sailed to the Bahamas, where Dave played a gig.

Sadly the weather was hideous--rain for three straight days, then a horrible storm during Dave's set. Rain so hard it actually hurt. Dave saved the day by coming on each of the boats and doing acoustic sets.

Our sets were really fun, raw and good, with hardcore fans carousing and dancing in this weird on-ship nightclub with kind of a disco 80s vibe. (The decor on the boat is really surreal and astonishing)

Scrap met Trey. Scrap loves Trey. Scrap is beaming.

We woke up this morning and found ourselves in the middle of the ocean. Which was surprising because we were supposed to dock at an island and hang out on a beach. It was rainy on the island, so they just decided to drive the boat around aimlessly in non-rainy seas.

We dock in Miami tomorrow; we have 8 hours 'til our flights home, so Chuck's gonna rent a minivan, and we'll all tool around South Beach, look at the pretty people on rollerblades, and resolve to get lipsuction.


Posted by Mike at 10:30 PM

Feb 1, 06 02:35 PM

I Opened MySpace Pages for Some of the Artists I Recorded in Eritrea.


Above, the Dolphin Band.

Below, Samuel.


Posted by Mike at 2:35 PM



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