Gettin’ Like Unreal

Today’s blue skies had me in lockstep with this MX-80 song from their newest, “So Funny.” It is a pretty healthy pace for the woods. We passed a neighbor and she was listening to the Saturday afternoon broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera. We never take sound producing devices in the woods and why would you need it when you can’t get some songs out of your head?

I miss the hard-core drive of Dave Mahoney’s drumming and I wish people would quit dying but Bruce Anderson’s guitar is still stellar and the band sounds more melodic than ever. You can watch the entire lp, cd or whatever it is on YouTube or FB.


So Hard

“So Hard” was the first song on Personal Effects” first record. The song was written by Rich Stim and released on cassette by his band, Playette. I’m quite sure we did a version of this song with the Hi-Techs. The song always went over great live and when we went into the studio as Personal Effects in 1982 we added the middle (reggae) section.

The song, as recorded by Playette, was originally called “So So Hard.” Rich went on to play saxophone and guitar as well as sing with the great MX-80 Sound. There was a Rochester connection to MX-80. Drummer, Dave Mahoney, drove the classic MX lineup until his passing ten years ago.

So Hard was co-produced by Dwight Glodell and Eric DuFaure and released on Cachalot Records in 1983. Thirty three years later, MX Rich has created this video!

I looked for Playette’s version of So So Hard but could only find Roomful of Voices by Playette. Dave Mahoney does the vocals here.

Playette cassette cover art. Release features So So Hard.
Playette cassette cover art. Release includes So So Hard featuring Dave Mahoney.

Audio Visual Art

Kevin Teare "Psychic to the Stars", 2000. Oil on Linen. 60 inches x 62 inches
Kevin Teare “Psychic to the Stars”, 2000. Oil on Linen. 60 inches x 62 inches

I was an art major in Bloomington, Indiana for one year and then I hung around town for a few more. It was a pretty cool town for music but it had very little art other than the Calder sculpture in front of the opera school. Kevin Teare played drums in a local band, MX-80 Sound, and had an art opening in a small gallery there. Glenn O’Brien writing in Interview said of MX-80 is either the most Heavy Metal Art Band or the most Arty Heavy Metal Band. The art show was one of the last things I remember doing in that town and it was one of the coolest. Kevin salvaged and painted wooden skids and leaned them against the white walls. They were beautiful. The photo above is a detail from his painting, “Psychic to the Stars”, 2000. Oil on Linen. 60 inches x 62 inches.

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North Coast

View of Lake ontario in Spring
View of Lake ontario in Spring

While driving out to Peggi’s mom’s apartment we are never within reach of an open network long enough to email or surf but I like watching the names of the available networks come and go. “HappyCheetah,” “Dadswifi,” “JudithHookHome,” ” Netgear,” “Matinellis,” “Magnet.” Imagining the people who set up these networks makes me think of of the MX80 song, “Follow That Car”.

We had a tall, spindly lilac bush that was growing out from under a few other trees, reaching for some sun at a forty five degree angle. It was hanging over our neighbor’s driveway so I figured we had to do something about it or he would just lop it off. I tied a rope around the trunk and looped the other end around the trailer hitch on our car and then drove til it stood straight. Itt blossomed beautifully in the last few weeks with dark purple lilacs but yesterday’s winds blew the bush/tree over in the other direction. We cut the top half off and stood it back up again. We’ll see what happens. We don’t really have what it takes when it comes to pruning and shaping. We’re more the “Let The Weeds Take Over” type.

We walked up to the lake this afternoon. It looks different every day but it is especially nice when it looks mysterious.

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Good Orderly Direction

Green ground cover in woods of Western New York
Green ground cover in woods of Western New York

We managed to slow summer’s pace down a bit by not doing a whole lot of stuff. Not going out to see the bands we follow, not going to parties, not going to the last Rhino’s game and not making entries here for a few days. We’ve also been working most evenings because we have a backlog of work for a change. And after work, it’s out to the porch to read. The world slows to a crawl out there.

Peggi took her mom to the doctor this morning They are trying to determine why she has such a hard time swallowing. A battery of tests are in order. She’ll swallow some barium on Monday and they will track the decent with x-rays. I took our 92 year old neighbor’s mail in this morning and I plan to mow his lawn tomorrow while he figures out how to swallow again. They removed most of his pallet when they cut out his mouth cancer last week. He wants to throw in the towel but pep talks may dissuade him. I gave him my best shot while handing him his mail. He was slurping an Ensure.

I do my best thinking while mowing the lawn, taking a shower or walking in the woods. If I’m working on a logo, and I do sketches all day, I’ll jump in the shower and the best idea pops into my head. Today I was thinking about god and I sorted it all out in the shower. We have two neighbors on our small street that boast of being atheists. One is a chemist and the other teaches poetry in the City school district and their conversations got me going on this matter. As a Catholic, I was raised to believe that there was some sort of Trinity construct with the all knowing God the Father, His son, made visible in Jesus, and this spooky Holy Ghost that hovers about. I never could figure it out. I know that when I buried our cat he was stiff as a board I will be too when I die. I don’t believe I’ll be meeting any maker in the great beyond.

I was looking at my niece’s Facebook photos from the recent Jason Mraz concert. He does a song called “Good Orderly Direction“. The first time I came across this concept was in Julia Cameron’s book on creativity. But I gather it is also sort of an out for addicts who use AA but don’t believe in God. The natural order of things is enough of a god construct for me.

Which brings to mind the old MX-80 slogan. “Often in error. Never in doubt.”


Follow That Car

Saturn Sky on Culver Road in Rochester, New York
Saturn Sky on Culver Road in Rochester, New York

We just so happened to be following this car on a perfect summer evening when MX-80‘s song came on the radio. Or maybe it wasn’t on the radio but we were singing it.


I’m Going Up Front

Amy Kawabata, a fourth year animation student at RIT, asked Margaret Explosion to put some music to her newest film. She’s planning on entering the project in the Ottawa Film Fest and possibly the Brooklyn Film Fest where Duane Sherwood’s video to one of our songs, 4AM, caused a sensation a few years ago.

Peggi stopped out to see her mom last night and they were talking about her mom’s wedding which was very small, just the groom’s parents (Peggi’s paternal grandparents). Peggi’s mom expressed some displeasure that her father was attending to another woman and wasn’t able to make his daughter’s wedding. Then Peggi’s mom jumped the rails and said “Of course, you and Paul weren’t there either because you were to busy”. Peggi said, “Mom, I wasn’t even born”. And then they both had a good laugh.

Steve Lippincott, who lives in Portland and is working on a story about Personal Effects and the Rochester scene, knew that we knew the guys in MX-80 so he sent us some stuff he found on a bit torrent site. One cd was MX-80 Live in the back room at Record Archive when it was over on Mount Hope. The show was broadcast live on WRUR in 1980. It sounded amazing. Dick Storms interviews the band at the end.

The other MX-80 cd that Steve sent was from the night after at Scorgies. The Hi-Techs opened the show and MX tore up the place. It sounds great too and it also sounds pretty familiar. It was made from my cassette tape recording of the night. In fact between the “Theme From Sisters” and MX-80’s classic, “I Walk Among Them” you can hear Bill Jones talking to me as I manned the tape machine. He was having a problem with one of his presses. Bill printed the cover to the Hi-Techs first single on Dick Storm’s “Archive Records” label. You can also hear Martin Edic exclaim, “I’m going up front!”