Today my brother would have turned 35. Instead, he died of an undetermined cause at age 20, and it still kills me, my family, and certain others. You’d've liked him. I wrote an essay about him back in 2004, and the only thing that’s changed is my age. So if you feel like readin’…
Go here to read ”41 Things You Probably (Don’t Care) To Know About 41 Gorgeous Blocks.”
Don’t let the nearly hourlong run time of This Kills Me fool you: This Arlington foursome has not forsaken punk’s breakneck precision for bloated rock digressions. Instead, frontman Matt Riggle has embraced texture and depth on this, the band’s fifth full-length album. Produced by Riggle and guitarist Deedle LaCour at LaCour’s home in Arlington, This Kills Me might startle some with its lyrical preoccupations with aging and coming to terms with a life in the suburbs (“Where all of my dreams exist/Behind the scenes/And sentimental fear/Is music to my ear,” Riggle croons in Back Home). This is the sound of youthful exuberance acquiescing to adult realities.
Forty-One (somewhat) Interesting Things You Probably Don’t (care to) Know About 41 Gorgeous Blocks:
1. This Kills Me is 41 Gorgeous Blocks’ sixth studio album.
2. In 1999 the band began their career in the garage of a south Arlington home, and 11 years later, have managed to set up shop in a completely different south Arlington home!
3. The new album showcases a love of acoustic guitar, young adult lyrics, and loud-ass drums.
4. The lyrical content of This Kills Me spans marriage, kids, divorce, illness, depression, more kids, lost hope, abandoned dreams, self-doubt, self-love and other badass life thingies.
5. Tom Petty was a big influence on the new record. So were the band members’ mood swings.
6. This Kills Me was mixed by living punk legend Stephen Egerton, guitarist/producer of the Descendents and ALL.
7. 41GB is often labeled pop-punk, but as the Dallas Observer once put it: “the pop-punk path 41 Gorgeous Blocks started down has been left behind for something that’s closer to rock without any hyphens.”
8. Fort Worth Weekly once said: “Matt Riggle demonstrates an uncommon degree of self-awareness and introspection in his lyrics.”
9. Matt Riggle on songwriting: “Bad things tend to inspire me. The worse, the better.”
10. The tiny voices heard on “My Heart Grew” are Deedle’s actual children, one of whom was born during the recording of This Kills Me.
11. In the “Last Night” music video, drummer Matt Morris’ face was purposely thrown into shadow because, the day before the shoot, he fell off a sled and slid down a hill on his mouth. In one of the shots, his silhouette appears to include a beak-like feature. That would be the swelling.
12. At shows, the band always asks the audience to heckle them. Often this does not go well.
13. Each member of 41 Gorgeous Blocks continues to hold down a day job that many people throughout the years–some related, some not– have advised them not to quit.
14. Both Deedle LaCour and Matt Riggle are professional video editors (commercial and news, respectively), yet 41 Gorgeous Blocks rarely do music videos.
15. Bassist Tanner Leaser is an accomplished pinstripist and co-owns the skateboard company Bombsquad Longboarding.
16. Drummer Matt Morris is a veteran veterinary tech and is always fostering and caring for some sort of “being” in his home.
17. If you combine the titles of every 41 Gorgeous Blocks record, you can make a pretty substantial paragraph: An emotional young person just like yourself isn’t supposed to be this way. Swallow the sandwich. Well I sorta know how you feel. Querulous, this kills me.
18. Before forming 41 Gorgeous Blocks in ‘99, members of the band played in Ed Banky’s Car, Uncle J, Kid Tested, The Indigints, The Briefing Room, Squad Five-O, Self Serve, and The Fitz.
19. Deedle LaCour on his role in the band: “I have many unimportant roles in the band like the occasional guitar strumming, singing wannabe Brian Wilson-esque harmonies, writing “that one song that the other guy sings” and archiving performances of our songs to some kind of recording media. But my most important role is to heckle our band from the stage, especially Tanner.”
20. 41GB have done two national tours and, as a result, have played 968 games of “20 Questions” and exactly 3.4 trillion rounds of childishly perverted Mad Libs. Shows too.
21. All members of 41GB are over six feet tall, however none of them can dunk. Or jump.
22. 41GB’s original bassist, Matt Pittman, plays in Red Animal War, Saboteur, and The Light Fantastic.
23. Drummer Matt Morris and bassist Tanner Leaser are cousins. Their other cousin, Brad Edwards, took the photos for the This Kills Me artwork. You say tomato, I say nepotism.
24. During one of the final mix days for their 2004 album Well I Sorta Know How You Feel, Matt Riggle and Deedle LaCour procrastinated by playing the same two Metallica songs on an acoustic bass for three hours. That jam session is often reminisced. As for the album…
25. Aside from writing a music column for Dallas Morning News’ Quick, singer/guitarist Matt Riggle is a published author and is currently writing a collection of young adult short stories for publication in 2011.
26. There might actually be less than 41 somewhat interesting things about this band.
27. A reviewer once wrote that 41GB’s guitarist looked like a male version of Winona Ryder. It was the nicest thing ever written about the band until they realized it was meant as an insult.
28. Bassist Tanner Leaser has more tattoos than drummer Matt Morris has pets. But just barely.
29. Matt Riggle’s old band was once cursed at by a seven-foot-eight woman who insisted that their music was too loud and should “go away.”
30. The band’s name and the title of their first album were stolenborrowedlifted stolen from two different J.D. Salinger books.
31. In 2003, 41GB spent a considerable amount of time playing acoustically on the street for spare change. On one occasion, an irritable restaurant manager with a leg cast limped out to tell them the police were “on their way” and that they were going to put the band in “prison.”
32. As of the writing of this list, none of the members of 41 Gorgeous Blocks have ever been to prison for busking outside of restaurants.
33. In 2001, 41GB commissioned Darren Paul from the band Tendril to draw the cover art for It Isn’t Supposed To Be This Way. When the band stopped by to see the rough draft of it, Darren made them stand across the room and flashed the paper for only one second. That sealed the deal.
34. Guitarist/singer Deedle LaCour has a borderline-unhealthy fixation with Jimmy Dean and, to the best of our knowledge, has never gone a full day without uttering the word “sausage” thirty or forty times in a row.
35. Matt Riggle, describing a typical 41 Gorgeous Blocks show: “Walk straight into the big, empty room – we’ll be the guys over in the corner making all the racket. And smiling.”
36. While recording the shortest and easiest song on the first 41GB record, Matt Riggle’s eye-socket was almost impaled by the drumstick of a very frustrated Matt Morris. To this day, no one publicly holds a grudge.
37. In 2005, living legend Stephen Egerton recorded two of the guitar solos on 41GB’s Resigned EP. If you’re not sure, I can assure you: that’s insane! And then, based on those sessions, Matt Morris was asked to play drums for a Descendents/ALL cover band for Stephen’s 40th birthday party. If you’re not sure: that’s insaner!
38. In one of the final recording days of This Kills Me, a 37-minute conversation between an exhausted Deedle LaCour and Matt Riggle was accidentally recorded on Matt’s cell phone. The result was included at the end of the record.
39. The unlisted 15th track on This Kills Me is a cover of “748-1414” the Dallas Times Herald’s jingle from the 80’s.
40. Writer Zac Crain: “41 Gorgeous Blocks makes you remember why punk rock is still important. Any band that can do that shouldn’t be underestimated or ignored. Cheered is more like it.”
41. Not counting this, there are only 40 (somewhat) interesting things about 41 Gorgeous Blocks.
I’ve been writing an online music column for Dallas Morning News’ Quick. It’s become an intermittent thing (as monthly as I can muster), but each one is accompanied by a bonus cover song I recorded while procrastinating that week.
Just checking in. Here it is, June 2010, and our new album is AALLMMOOSSTT finished. We took a little break but are now back at work this week completing vocals on the last four songs. It’s looking like we’ll be sending it up to Tulsa for mixing very soon.
Fifteen songs were recorded, one of them a 30-second cover that only people who existed in Dallas in the 80′s will recognize. I left a hint somewhere in the body OR title of this post.
We are looking at doing some shows this summer, certainly when the album comes out, maybe sooner. Where are shows even played anymore? I seriously don’t know. Do you?
One last thing: In this day and age, Facebook is probably the only mode of advertising we are going to pursue. So, if you wouldn’t mind, please encourage your friends to “like” us. Heck, if you’re feeling especially jolly, you could even encourage them to like us WITHOUT quotes.
First off, I recorded a little ukulele version of The Mr. T Experience song “That Prozac Moment” and Dr. Frank himself linked to it on his blog. So I’m now linking to that post, which will link you back to here if you choose to hear the song. Kinda silly and roundabout, but it’s what I’ve chosen to do considering the momentous occasion. I mean, has your idol ever linked to your somewhat incorrectly played and out of tune ukulele cover song???
Also, it’s “official.” A new 41 Gorgeous Blocks album to be recorded in March. Standby for more tidbits on that, and possibly even a little follow through.
You know, I think it just might take an angry-yet-intelligently-thoughtful-and-realistic post from Ben Weasel to finally get me off my I’ve-given-up-on-caring-about-the-disaster-occurring-in-the-music-world kick.
And, hot damn, I’m in luck. Ben reminds us little guys that we actually have a say in this, too.
The music industry is still evolving (or mutating, if you prefer) but one thing that isn’t changing – and that never will change – is that the little guy (those of us who have nothing to do with, and are of no interest whatsoever to the RIAA) is still getting the short end of the stick…
…what I want to know, again, is who\’s going to be paying for the recording of all this free music dreamed up by small-timers (which description, if you’re not aware, covers most of us)? And if the answer is “nobody,” that means that music made by people who are even a little bit outside the mainstream, off the beaten path, or just plain fucking weird, is going to disappear (save, of course, for those with disposable cash – the hobbyists and the rich kids – but those people tend to make music that people can’t even be bothered to download for free). Long term, this isn’t going to work out well for music fans. I’m not scolding. I’m not trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle. I just want the emperor’s distinct lack of clothing noted: the alleged death of the music industry is in actuality the death of interesting music.
And… I love this part, too:
I said the same thing six years ago when I first wrote about this stuff. And what’s happened since? Music has become more boring than ever, that\’s what. Even punk rock has become more mind-numbingly mediocre than I ever remember it being before… I haven’t seen so many bands playing it safe and copying what’s popular since the skulls and anarchy-symbol craze of 1984. If I hear another band aping the Dillinger Four and shouting their Cookie Monster vocals at me through their hobo beards I may begin to sob.
Seriously, one day it’ll be clear to everyone: those beards are not helping a thing.
Here’s a little something to do while our band continues its hiatus or whatever it is we’re up to (which is nothing):
I just posted 6 songs over at our MySpace page - all of them cover songs. Info below.
“Whopper” by Henry Holt. Our version of this HH song appears on HH’s album Lines and Letdowns (2004). Recorded on Super Bowl Sunday of 2003.
me – guitar/vocals
Matt M – drums
Tanner – bass
Deedle – guitar/ vocals
Duane Deering – piano, vocals and most likely other stuff that I\’m not aware of.
“Going To Pasalcqua” by Green Day. Recorded in Jan. 2003 while doing the Well… EP, this song was for a Green Day tribute album, although it wasn’t used.
me – guitar/vocals
Matt M – drums
Tanner – bass
Deedle – guitar/ vocals
“Baltimore” by Cleveland Bound Death Sentence. Recorded in a moment of procrastination while working on Querulous. Though I certainly don’t do it justice, this is a terrific song about friendship. Some of my favorite lyrics ever. Written by Aaron Cometbus.
me – acoustic, singingish
“Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms. This appears on our 2002 Swallow the Sandwich EP. It was recorded on a whim after, if I recall, Deedle picked up a Gin Blossoms CD at Half Price Books. I was never a fan of the song when it came out but loved it when I heard the used CD. It contains one of my favorite lines: “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down.”
me – guitar, voc
Deedle – lead guitar
Matt M -drums
Matt Pittman – bass guitar
“Out the Window” by the Violent Femmes. We recorded this on even more of a whim in 2005 while doing an acoustic session for the Adventure Club with Josh radio show. He asked us to play a cover and for some reason this came out. We’d never played the song together and I hadn’t sung it in years (which might be why I shamefully screw up the lyrics a couple times). Anyway, one of my favorite VF songs for sure.
me – acoustic, singing/whining
Matt M – snare, singing
Josh Venable – faint background singing
“Sloop John B”, traditional, though considered a Beach Boy cover. Recorded live in December 2004 at Deedle’s last “official” show with us. We started doing this song in 2003 after I saw Brian Wilson perform it on Letterman. One of my favorite songs.
me – guitsing
KDGE has gotten rid of the only reason to even go near music radio these days: Josh Venable. Sadly, his night shift and, more devastatingly, “The Adventure Club” have been eliminated from the lineup.
Not only has Josh been a longtime champion of countless bands – certainly ours – by offering radio play and opportunities that would never have existed without him, he actually played the music that he cared about. And there’s just no room for that on KDGE anymore.
I know his talent – and his insanely vast knowledge of music – will allow him bounce back very soon with something better and more satisfying; but still: this really sucks.
I am a huge fan of Lance and his music thanks to my brother. I have no idea how Bobby managed to get a hold of J Church\’s Arbor Vitae, but it absolutely changed our lives. It had everything we were desperately seeking in music: GREAT lyrics and never-boring music that sounded simple (until you tried to recreate it on your own guitar), all in the form of 13 rough-yet polished, two-minute bundles of pure, self-effacing passion. Still one of my top albums. And I still hold standing a foot away from Lance as he slammed out the guitar solo for \”Racked\” as being the ultimate live show moment of my life (which, by the way, I hate saying, because it sounds like I\’m only \”saying\” it. But, for what it\’s worth, I promise I\’m not).
From there, Bobby special-ordered every other J Church release that Off Beat Records could locate. Great songs everywhere you turned. I actually finally got a copy of Cringer\’s \”Greatest Hits, Vol. 1\” (Lance\’s band before J Church) the night before my brother passed away. After hearing \”If I Had Your Pen\” for the first time, Bobby simply shrugged as if he wasn\’t surprised in the least and said, \”Perfect.\”
Since then, I\’ve kept up with Lance through his music and his monthly-if-not-more-than-monthly newsletter. I am not bending a single fact when I say that Lance Hahn was the real deal. Humble, passionate, kind and influential as they come.
I wish I knew what to do now, other than this: Thanks, Lance.
Hailing 41 Gorgeous Blocks’ newest album Querulous is the poster child for great indie pop-rock. With the vocal and guitar stylings of Matt Riggle, the bass of Tanner Leaser and drumming from Matt Morris, these guys are emerging from the same music scene that great pop-rock acts like Bowling For Soup call home.
“Something That Rings A Bell” and “I’ll Just Wait” bubble and boil with pulsing guitar riffs. In “Standing Tall,” Morris displays first-rate percussive playing, which helps to create a potential punk rock hit. All of these songs follow fun lyrical rhyming patterns fun especially on the track “Reckless Words.”
The album’s title Querulous, a word meaning to complain, complements the lyrical content of a many of the album’s songs. The themes that Riggle explores on this album stem from the loss of his brother and former band mate, Bobby. Despite the depressing nature of the album’s lyrics, the instrumentation makes you want to dance. “Guts,” the track most likely to get radio play, and “It Should’ve” exemplify this.
41 Gorgeous Blocks definitely have something to be proud of with this cd, Though the album’s title refers to complaining, Querulous is definitely NOT something to complain about!
Upstart Crows, the first of possibly tens of projects from Wide Array, makes its debut October of \’07. The book is a collection of fiction from JD Reid, Alan Reid, Elijah R. Darkor, Gayla Chaney, Michele Cunningham-Scott, Benjamin Harvey, Jena Salon, Cindy St. John, and Barry Phillips. Interior comics were drawn by Bobby Riggle. The book can be found in our book section. The purchase of Upstart Crows is good for the soul and easy on the wallet. Please enjoy!
FREE show sponsored by the City of Irving and the Irving Youth Acion Council (IYAC).
See Irving’s best teen bands along with \”special guests\” 41 Gorgeous Blocks!
2pm-6pm. All ages. Free. 2098 E. Sixth St., Irving, TX
Lots of free stuff like free photo keychains, free temporary tattoos, free photo flipbooks, etc. Concessions and Tshirts will be sold.
This show will be video-taped and will air on the Irving Community Television Network in the coming weeks.
The long-awaited followup to 2004′s Well I Sorta Know How You Feel is finally here!
Querulous is the fifth album by Texas rockers 41 Gorgeous Blocks. The upbeat pop-punk sound found on previous 41GB records is once again present, though several \”centerpiece\” songs offer a more realized –and somewhat darker– side of the band.
Though not an overt concept album, Querulous follows a lyrical arc: the word wait appears 20 times, the word time appears 21 times, and the sentence I’m still intending a happy ending, but there’s never time to enact my plan, so while I wait for that chance, we forge ahead with shouldn’ts, don‘ts, and can‘ts appears at least once.
Co-produced by punk legend Stephen Egerton (Descendents, ALL).
14-song CD w/ artwork and lyrics in a durable plastic sleeve.
Matt Riggle – vocals, guitar Matt Morris – drums, vocals Tanner Leaser – bass, vocals
1. Something that Rings a Bell
2. I’ll Just Wait
3. “Standing Tall” (free mp3)
4. “Lay Low” (free mp3)
5. Disappointed in Myself
6. It’s Over
7. “Reckless Words” (free MP3)
8. Querulous and Fretful
9. The Common Thread
10. It Should’ve
11. “All I Can Take” (free MP3)
12. Moving On
14. Taking Time
Only $4 postage paid!
International orders: please add $4 for international shipping.
41 Gorgeous Blocks makes the kind of amiable, intelligent pop-punk you wished were more popular than it is. Querulous vacillates between light and dark with an unforced ease…. These 14 tracks are tight, focused and hopelessly melodic; Riggle’s high, expressive vocals bounce eagerly off of drummer Matt Morris and bassist Tanner Leaser’s proficient playing. Standout cuts include “The Common Thread” and the sweet, subtle “Something That Rings a Bell”.
41 Gorgeous Blocks makes the kind of amiable, intelligent pop-punk you wished were more popular than it is. Querulous, the fifth studio album from the Arlington-based trio, vacillates between light and dark with an unforced ease. The group doesn\’t have a release date set for this record, but frontman Matt Riggle says it will be sometime this fall. Co-produced by veteran punker Stephen Egerton (of Descendents fame), these 14 tracks are tight, focused and hopelessly melodic; Riggle\’s high, expressive vocals bounce eagerly off of drummer Matt Morris and bassist Tanner Leaser\’s proficient playing. Standout cuts include The Common Thread and the sweet, subtle Something That Rings a Bell. Catch 41 Gorgeous Blocks in action Sept. 1 at the Cavern in Dallas.
And if you want, you can download 4 of the new songs right here.
Man, I hadn\’t heard about this until now (via Underminer).
(And that\’s Karl as in Karl Alvarez from Descendents/ALL):
As some of you may know, Karl suffered a minor fluke heart attack on August the 11th. Physically he is fine, there is no lasting damage to his heart. However, Punk Rock has no benefits package and he\’s saddled with some pretty massive medical bills. We have organized a myspace page to help generate gifts to help him with his expenses also there will be benefit shows set up to help raise money. Click on the banner below to go to the page. On the page there is also easy to use banners that you can put in bulletins or on your page.
Matt Riggle, frontman for Grand Prairie band 41 Gorgeous Blocks , sent a very early copy of the band\’s new album, hitting stores in the fall. While the pop-punk sound doesn\’t always capture my interest, Riggle\’s intelligent lyrics somehow manage to freshen up the genre a bit. Hear what I\’m talking about by visiting www.myspace.com/41gorgeousblocks
The Lance Hahn benefit CD is now out. We were lucky enough to contribute our cover of \”Church on Fire\”. It\’s avaible from No Idea.
A co-operative release from five labels; all proceeds go to help defray Lance Hahn\’s mounting medical bills for his kidney & heart problems. All songs are J Church/Cringer covers!
1. Banner Pilot – Part Of The Problem
2. McRackins – Undisputed King Of Nothing
3. Walker – Petrograd
4. The Groucho Marxists – Socialist Newspaper
5. Radon – Open Road
6. A Radio With Guts – Sound Guy Smiley
7. Unitas – A Letter To A Friend/I Can\’t Be Nice To You
8. The Parasites – Panama
9. Streetside Prophet – Sound Of Mariachi Bands
10. Dateless – Foreign Films
11. Kimberly Steaks – Your Shirt
12. Lolligaggers – The Track
13. The Peabodys – Pay To Play
14. Rubberband – Mary Provost
15. Nervous Dogs – Racked
16. Responsible Johnny – This Town
17. Kazoo – On Dying Alone
18. Non Radio Friendly – My Favorite Place
19. The Measure – Fascist Radio
20. Down In The Dumps – Lama Temple
21. Brickfight – Rain
22. The Queers – About The She
23. Blotto – Step Back
24. 41 Gorgeous Blocks – Church On Fire
25. Angry 4 Life – Sword
26. The Ratchets – Bottom Rung
27. Sidewalk Crax – I Reach For Her Hand
28. AV Club – Rich And Young And Dumb
29. Young Playthings – Favorite Phrase
30. Chris Catfood – Tide Of Fate
A big thanks to Chad Riley from Non Radio Friendly for organizing this and making this happen.
Josh is playing our brand new song \”Something that Rings a Bell\” on his radio show, The Adventure Club, tonight. Listen live here or on KDGE 102.1 FM if you\’re local. The show airs from 6pm – 9pm central.
We\’re going to be giving a bunch of them away in the coming weeks. If you haven\’t already, sign up on the email list on the right side of this page. We\’ll be sending the info on how to get a free CD to the mailing list only.
Irving Community Television is re-airing our episode of Rock Wars this Thursday the 29th at 4pm. It was shot back in September \’05 at the Irving Arts Center. Irving-ites (with cable) can go to channel 1. Anyone else can stream it live (as it re-airs) here.
Good news: the black cloud that follows me around is alive and well today!
We\’re recording the last of the new songs I told you about, but the computer doesn\’t seem to like the direction our band is going in, because it\’s been a-glitchin\’ and a-moanin\’ all damn day. Deedle had already saved the day once by loaning us mics, cables and preamps; and then later, he saved the day again by replacing yet another vital piece of gear that had gone bad on me. I didn\’t even know it was possible to save the same day twice. Well, I guess it makes sense: he saved it, I screwed it up, he saved it again.
But we did finish drums on two songs today, so I thought our troubles were behind us. But then, silly me, I decided to, ya know, PLAY BACK what we\’d done. That\’s when my computer decided to stop talking to my ProTools hardware and start giving me the blue-screen-of-death everytime I open a project.
I\’m telling you: the cloud is alive and well, and apparently, it has friends. But the good thing is: I have friends, too.
We\’ll get there. More later. Bed time.
UPDATE: Turns out I have one more friend who\’s been with me all along, always there, always willing to help, but never called upon until now: my good ol\’ system recovery disc.
So, we\’re back on schedule for finishing drums today. I know you were probably worried sick about this. Or maybe just reading this blog makes you feel sick in general. (Actually, both are true for me.)
Today, my brother Bobby would have turned the big three-o. The following is a real conversation he and I had before band practice one day:
Matt (age 15): There is nothing more sad than old people playing rock music.
Bobby (age 17): I know.
Matt: We need to get this out of our system now because when I\’m 30, I\’m gonna end the band.
Bobby: What, you think I\’m gonna be 32 and going \”Come on man, one more year!\” ???
From time to time, Dr. Frank holds the Google-lympics over at his blog. It\’s where he posts some of the most recent (and random) Google searches that have led people to his page.
Having just gone through two years\’ worth of the queries that have brought people here, I just couldn\’t help but share some – categorized, of course – as Frank would have it.
We\’ll start off slowly and build up some bizarro momentum as we go.
This first group is made up of what appear to be actual attempts at finding this website. Who cares if those typing weren\’t sure of a few measly numbers, letters and, in some cases, words? The important thing is they found us:
40 gorgeous blocks
36 gorgeous blocks
39 gorgeous blocks
42 gorgeous blocks
21 gorgeous blocks
40 gorgeous blocks
31 gorgeous blocks
47 gorgeous blocks
3 gorgeous blocks
13 gorgeous blocks
seven gorgeous blocks
49 georgeous blocks band
41 georgeous blocks
41 g blocks
14 waffle blocks
41 gorgeous block
41 gorgeous black
Next, we have some instances where you can pretty much assume the typist wasn\’t looking for us:
guitar center & al roker
waffle house shooting december 2003
fun places to go in the rain in hanover pa
darlington lap dance club
chuck e -cheese -cheeses -cheeze -rickie -weiss -costa -yeager -addictive
photos of birthday spankings
awesome cheap hats
And at first, these next three were going just going to be included in that last group:
most ugly faces
ugly faces 2005
That is, until I discovered this one along with them:
ugly faces 41 gorgeous
My ego bruised and a bit bloodied , I trekked on, this time finding questions, some of which I\’d even asked myself before. Though, I hadn\’t been smart enough to ask the internet:
is there non scented pledge
why punk rock
does matt dallas have kids?
what is meant by gawking?
what is a 41 year old roadie to do ?
where did gorgeous go
what have i been doing today
There also seems to have been someone looking for, um, \”things\” in Lewisville, TX:
vista ridge amphitheater lewisville tx
lewisville car show
lewisville tx strip bar
lewisville tx strip clubs
strip club lewisville tx
gentlemen s clubs near lewisville tx
strip clubs lewisville tx
strip bar in lewisville tx
lewisville texas gentlemen s club
lewisville tx strip clubs
auto junkyard lewisville tx
strip club lewisville texas
Then, there were those who might have benefited more from a doctor than a search engine:
how to get rid of a jammed finger
a lot of head rushes
boredom and depression
heat brain damage
sore middle finger
This next group… well… I just call it \”Yikes\”:
gorgeous hunks getting it on
creep-stand here with me
my sister is gorgeous
websites that block people from seeing what you are really doing
suicide pardon the mess
fleshlight for men
And sometimes Google is the only friend who understands you:
christmas isn t christmas
i like hitting myself with a guitar in the morning
one day someone will walk into your life and you will realize why it never worked with anyone else
being gorgeous gets me a long
But don\’t believe for a minute that all of this is as random and meaningless as it appears. You know, in this hectic world of ours, it\’s so easy to become cynical – to get caught up scrutinizing every little thing you come across, looking only for the easiest way to prove to yourself, and everyone else, that you are the victim here. And even though every now and then you become aware that you take for granted all that you have going for you, often you don\’t realize what you\’ve been missing all along. Yep, sometimes it takes the serendipitous hands a stranger on the other end of a keyboard far, far away to really drive the message home:
Hey there. Just a little note here to let you know that we are indeed still alive. As of late, we\’ve been working very heavily on finishing our \”new\” album, which was started — dare I admit– over two years ago. It\’s gonna be pretty crazy when it\’s done. But, you know, that good kind of crazy. A comforting crazy.
We are recording one more little batch of songs in February, and then that should be it. It\’s gonna be 17 or 18 songs total, I think, including a couple instrumentals. Lots of guitars, lots of vocals. No title yet, but some song titles include \”Standing Tall\”, \”Disappointed in Myself\”, \”Guts\”, \”Reckless Words\”, \”I\’ll Just Wait\”, \”All I Can Take\”, \”Something That Rings a Bell\”, and \”It\’s Over\”. (For those who are wondering: yes, that \”It\’s Over\”.)
The idea is that this thing\’ll be out in time for an EARLY summer tour. 2007.
Local and regional shows will be happening sooner than that, so watch this space.
Other 41GB-related news:
Matt M and Tanner, along with their cousin Brad, will soon be doing a show or two performing as Darlington\’s backing band. Darlingtonsex.com will have those details.
I recently traveled up to Tulsa with Beaumont\’s Joe Jitsu to witness and assist with the recording of their new record \”The Perfect Life\”, due out later this year. It\’s gonna be a goodie, that\’s for sure. Very strong songs produced by the very strong producer/ guitar-god/ room-temperature-coffee-drinkin\’-fool Stephen Egerton. I played a \”guest\” guitar solo for one of the songs, but so did Mr. Egerton, so I\’ve already accepted the fact that mine will never be noticed by anyone ever. It just so happens I\’m used to that. Anyway, the boys posted a bunch of pictures from the trip on their MySpace.
So, over the weekend we recorded our song for the upcoming J Church tribute album. It\’s a benefit for Lance Hahn, the singer of J Church, who needs a kidney transplant. We got to cover my favorite J Church song \”Church on Fire\” from my favorite (and first) J Church album, Arbor Vitae. Turned out pretty cool.
Recording a cover is so much easier than recording an original. I guess it\’s because you already pretty much know what it should sound like. Or maybe it\’s because, unlike recording an original, there\’s never a point in the session when recording your vocals that you slam your headphones on the ground, screaming out to the empty room with teary eyes that the song sucks and that the person who wrote it has no business writing anything ever again. Something like that…
Anyway, not sure when the comp will be out, but probably around two months or so. It\’s a true honor to help out one of my longtime heroes in this way. Go catch up on Lance\’s condition and drop him a line. He\’s going through so much right now.
Oh and it seems like there\’s something else. Hmm, let me see… oh, yeah. I got married the other day! It still looks bizarre when I see the word Riggle after the word Kim on email signatures, but we\’re getting used to it. We had a really fun wedding and plan on doing it again in the future (you know, if things don\’t work out or whatever). Here\’s to falling in love, waiting a decade, and then getting married!
I hate the site design, which looks like something you might expect from a cat-lover\’s Geocities page circa 1996.
I hate that almost half the profiles I visit (in a feeble attempt to feel like I\’m not adding total strangers as friends) crash my browser because yet another pitiful goof had to load up his page with stupid band and celebrity photos and videos that he mistakenly thinks make him look more interesting than he is.
I hate that so many of my friends, who ought to know better, have spent hours carefully crafting lists of their favorite movies and books and music, as if anybody does or ought to care that they hold John Fante, Fassbinder or the Pixies in high esteem.
The Austin and Waco shows have been cancelled and Beaumont is on hold right now. More information coming soon, but please everyone keep Seth, our drummer\’s nephew, in your thoughts. Seth is in the hospital right now, in a coma. Keep Matt and his family in your thoughts, too.
41 Gorgeous Blocks is -pretty much- up and running again, at least for this week when we\’re on the road with the Tattle Tales from New York for the \”Texas leg\” of their summer tour. If you can come say hi, that\’d pretty much rule. It\’s been a hellacious couple of months \’round here lately. THANKS.
Monday, July 17, 2006
@ Andy’s in Denton, TX
(122 N Locust St)
w/ The Tattle Tales and others
9pm, 17 and up welcome
940-565-5400 for info
41GB is not playing this Tuesday, July 18, 2006
@ Writers Who Rock at El Mercado in Austin, TX
(1302 S. 1st St)
w/ The Tattle Tales
41GB is not playing this Wednesday, July 19, 2006
@ Cameron Park Pavilion in Waco, TX
w/ The Tattle Tales and more
NOT SURE IF WE\’RE PLAYING THIS OR NOTThursday, July 20, 2006
@ The Vortex in Beaumont, TX
(2530 Nth 11th St.)
w/ Joe Jitsu (!) and The Tattle Tales
Our drummer is in Iowa, enjoying the beautiful scenery outside his hospital room window.
He flew to Iowa last weekend on a big Special Olympics trip (he\’s a coach for their volley ball team), but only a day into it, had to go to the emergency room for an infection on his leg. What started as a simple bug bite has now turned into some sort of staph or strep infection.
He\’s been in and out of the hospital twice this week and will probably be there until tomorrow. He says it seems to be getting better, so let\’s hope it does.
Go send him a message or email him if you\’d like. He\’s been able to hobble down the hall to a computer every now and then. Plus he\’s there alone and is probably going insane with boredom. Cheer that boy up:
Wow, okay. Two whole days of that picture of me being at the top is enough! Tasha and Matt said I look like an ax murderer in it which I thought was a bit harsh. Murderer, yeah. But that goon would use something easier than an axe. Come on.
Also, as I dig around in, and painfully look at the contents of, the vast mound of 41GB video tapes that we\’ve never done anything with or even looked at in most cases, more and more bizarre things keep surfacing. Just a warning in case any others suddenly appear on the site, too.
All for now. I\’m gonna go try to finally straighten my left arm once and for all. Ouch.
Hey! Well somehow I’ve managed to crawl from the wreckage of an emergency diskectomy and return to my “normal” way of life. However, the doctor must have also plucked something else inside me because when I awoke, I had the burning urge to find and post this video (at the bottom). Hmm…
Thank you to everyone who dropped me a line and made last week manageable, if not enjoyable. Also thank you to my family and Kim for helping me through it all. I know it wasn’t a huge deal in the scheme of things, just a simple routine surgery, but it was pretty damn huge to me and I feel like I’m a new person. Well, a new person with the same ol’ annoying and boring complex. But now, I seem to like it. Now I see what this whole “Wow, look at me, I just had surgery!” thing is all about.
I’ve been re-reading a lot of Aaron Cometbus lately and have been feeling more inspired than I think I’ve ever been in my life. At one point last week, I had even convinced my self to write a book but don’t worry, I\’ve since then laid off the Vicodin and have talked myself out of it. You’ll just have to wait for the movie…
Enjoy the video and I’ll see you soon. Me and the boys (Matt and Tan being the boys in case you thought I was referring to my kids or something; I don’t have kids; well except Matt and Tan) are feeling refreshed and anxious to play shows. A small Texas tour with The Tattle Tales is happening in late July. Details coming.
We haven\’t had an update in a while, so here I am.
The new album is actually coming along nicely. (It\’s amazing what you can get done during the day when you don\’t have a job.) All the music is finally finished, so next week we\’ll be knee, possibly even chest- deep in vocal tracks.
After that, all that\’s left is mixing, mastering, and – oh I don\’t know – FINDING SOMEONE TO HELP US PUT IT OUT. (It\’s amazing how hard it is to put out your own records when you don\’t have a job…)
We have a couple shows coming up in June with our Ohio friends, Johnie 3, along with The Apers and Darlington. Come check it. Out.
Our new album is still being worked on here and there. We\’ll get through it sooner or later. Or much later. Just know that we\’re trying. To keep our guitars in tune.
Thanks for your support.
On the personal side of things, two major things have happened to me recently:
1. I (yes, finally) got engaged to my beautiful girlfriend of 8 and a half years, Kim. There. We\’re getting married, alright? Now everyone can stop bugging us. And instead, you can simply buy us stuff. The wedding is going to be sometime in October, and I\’ve already got my dress picked out.
and 2. I became an uncle. My sister and her husband had their first child, Will, on Tuesday night. Stacey (my sister) was released from the hospital today, but Will is having to stay a little longer because he ended up with some fluid in his lungs. But he\’s already doing much better and will be ready to go home in about a week. I\’m so happy for them and can\’t wait to get to know my nephew!
Other than that, I\’m pretty much the same guy. Oh, except my shoulder\’s kind of screwed up at the moment. But beyond that, yep, same guy.
In Matt & Tanner news: Matt and Tanner will be playing as Darlington\’s backup band this Sunday at the Queers show at Red Blood Club in Dallas. You should go and cheer all of those boys on.
Current status: in Tulsa, recording with Stephen Egerton.
Wait, scratch that.
Current status: in Tulsa, asking tons and tons of questions about ALL and Descendents to Stephen Egerton, then pausing every once and a while to eat some of his precious \”studio candy\” and then, even less often, gutting it up and actually doing some recording.
Matt banged out five very solid songs today, and the plan is to do around that many more tomorrow, then knock out a good bit of guitar stuff on Wednesday.
I must say, it\’s pretty exciting to see the new album FINALLY on its way to being more than just a vague list of tentative titles scribbled in a spiral notebook. Not quite as exciting as the question/answer/candy portion of the sessions, but exciting nonetheless.
These awards and honors are nothing more than grotesque orgies of self-gratification set up for people who have already sold millions of records and made millions of dollars yet are still so insecure that they need something to make them feel just a little more terrific about themselves. Just once, I used to think, I\’d like one of these yahoos to show a little backbone and integrity and tell the awards people to go fuck themselves.
And he goes on:
What does it take for a multi-millionaire rock star to say to himself, gee, maybe it\’s a bit silly for me to accept the award for the best album of the year considering that I\’m the beneficiary of a rigged system that isn\’t even vaguely interested in the existence of the hundreds and hundreds of amazing albums that were released in the same year just because they committed the sin of existing outside the magic circle of the Big 4?
And, intrestingly enough, simply substitute a couple \”albums\” with \”movies\” and a few \”musicians\” with \”actors\” and it kind of reminds you of another, upcoming awards ceremony, doesn\’t it?
The Star-Telegram did a story on the creepy, abandoned house near mine. Meat locker and all.
Matt M., Tanner and their cousin Brad used to go there at night just to hang out and, I don\’t know, try to make themselves crap their pants, I guess. Once they even returned with an eerie videotape of a \”white figure\” running away from the camera. Even I had to change my pants that night… but that\’s another story.
Alright, it\’s getting close. We just about have studio time booked to finish the new album. It should be official in a day or two, so I\’ll tell you more then. I only post this much now because of how exciting it is to be able to say, \”We\’re almost soon to be done with the new album, maybe!\” Rolls off the tongue nicely.
By the way, thanks to some great bands and some old friends showing up, the last two shows we played were just about as good as they come. A big \”thanxxx\” goes out to The Immigrants and Joe Jitsu for recently having us in Denton and Beaumont, respectively. Two truely great bands whom we\’re proud to share the stage with.
My friend Raul just informed that if you search the term \”gorgeous\” on MySpace, our band is the second thing to come up. First on the list is \”Blackout Gorgeous\”. However, more importantly, later on the list is \”Gorgeous Hunks\”. That\’s right, Gorgeous Hunks ranks lower than 41 Gorgeous Blocks.
This whole thing raises some intriguing thoughts. For instance: Why is Raul searching \”gorgeous\” on MySpace?
Elm Street in Deep Ellum has darkened a bit in the last week and will darken even more next week. Club Dada? Gone. Trees? Soon to be gone. (Well, it might only be temporary for one or both of them: Dada posted a sign on the door saying they’d “reopen after Christmas”, and the Observer article I read wasn’t able to completely confirm Trees’ fate by press time.)
I only played at Club Dada once and that was two(?) years ago with Deedle, where we “acoustically attempted” some Descendents, Ramones and Tom Petty covers for an audience of eight. Dada had always been the 21 and up joint that I avoided playing at because it was, well, 21 and up. My only real memory of the place, besides walking by it a thousand times on the way to Trees, is hearing from numerous people that they had “really great sound there.” I mean it, I heard that so many times over the years that I finally just started accepting it as fact. (I’ve even used the ol’ Dada has really great sound line myself once or twice on occasion.)
Trees, on the other hand, is a veritable walk down Memory Lane for me. I saw many of my all-time favorite shows there, important shows like Green Day (1994), Rancid (1996), and the more recent They Might Be Giants’ double-header (2004). It was always the top Deep Ellum club in my eyes and was probably the only club in Deep Ellum where I actually saw more shows than I played. In fact, I also played there only once: in 2002, when my old band, The Fitz, briefly reunited to play an Adventure Club birthday show.
My old, old band, Ed Banky’s Car, used to try to play at Trees. We sent in demo after lame demo, left messages, even attempted to go there for a face to face chat a couple times, but never were able to land a show; always a maybe – never a date. Funny enough – though “funny” is kind of a, well, funny word to use here – the week after my brother passed away and, consequently, the week after Ed Banky’s Car ended, I got a call from, wouldn’t you know it, Trees asking if we wanted to fill a freshly vacated Saturday night slot.
Honestly, I all but gave up on most Deep Ellum clubs a couple years ago, partially because most of them were really starting to get good at ripping off their bands and customers, but largely due to the fact that 41 Gorgeous Blocks could never seem to draw more than a handfull of people at the lame timeslots we always managed to get dealt.
I guess we’ll see how this all plays out – the club closings, I mean. But even if both bounce back, it still paints a pretty grim picture about what’s actually happening out there. Both closings, as I understand it, were due to money problems, which I can only assume exist at more than just Trees and Dada. Deep Ellum is certainly not the place it once was. But, you know, that’s what people have been saying for more than a decade now. Even since before I saw all those important and favorite shows of mine.
Just in time for Christmas, the entire 41GB recorded catalogue is on sale! You get ALL of the following for only $15 postage paid:
1. 2000\’s \”An Emotional Young Person Just Like Yourself\” full length CD 2. 2001\’s \”It Isn\’t Supposed To Be This Way\” full length CD*** 3. 2002\’s \”Swallow the Sandwich\” EP 4. 2003\’s \”Well…\” EP 5. 2004\’s \”Well I Sorta Know How You Feel\” full length CD 6. 2005\’s \”Resigned\” EP***
*** due to quantity limitations, \”It Isn\’t Supposed To Be This Way\” and \”Resigned\” do not include artwork. All others will be new, shrink-wrapped CDs.
When did it stop being about the songs and start being about the clothes you wear and the label you are on and making rock stars of fucking idiots with mohawks?Punk used to be for everyone and now it\’s all snobs…….it\’s all about the money.No one says a word about all this BS by and large.You shoot your mouth off in this day and age you make a pretty big target.
Somebody please shoot me so I don\’t have to while sitting in Kinko\’s, awaiting the hourglass in front of me to turn back into an arrow, notifying that the file I started uploading an hour ago to a distant server has finally gotten its ass in gear and \”done its thing\”.
Or at least bring me something to eat. And some spare contacts. These glasses seem to be doing more damage to my eyes than good.
File uploads? ripped contacts? ill-timed hunger pains? Yes, a complicated backstory exists here, but please don\’t ask me to tell it. I\’m trying to move on with my life.
UPDATE: Okay, \”said hourglass\” finally made it\’s transformation, but unfortunately it brought a friend with it: Error Message. His message was something to the effect of, \”Try again, moron.\”
UPDATE #2: Okay, since I\’m still waiting, and since this post has already spun bizarrely out of control and is now ununderstandable to anyone still reading it, I don\’t feel out of line sharing with you that I now have to pee. This means I can either A) leave my laptop unattended and hope it\’s still here when I return, B) take it with me and ignore the looks and possible voiced comments about how I need to look at \”that kind of stuff\” on my own time in my own home, or C) hold it.
Well, I suppose there\’s always option D…
Yeah, yeah. Another UPDATE: Well, good news. I\’m about to go home. However, the bad news is that I still didn\’t get the file uploaded. But no worries: I\’m just taking it a sign that I should home right now, curled up with a six-pack.
Thanks everyone for coming out to one or both of the shows yesterday. For those keeping score, we can just about chalk up another case of Yuppiefest-induced heat stroke for our drummer. That brings him to a career total of one full-blown case and two \”just about\” cases of Yuppiefest-induced heat stroke in just four short years. Keep up the good work, Matt!
But yeah, it was insanely hot out there and I plan to lead a revolution for next time that includes the rental of a big sun-blocking tarp and several industrial-sized box fans. Or, as one person suggested, three oversized 10-gallon hats that we can wear onstage at times like these might just do the trick.
But beyond my knee-jerk complaints about the heat, a big thanks goes out to Josh, Paul and all the others who continue to invite us back to Yuppiefest year after year. We\’re grateful. And sunburned. But mostly grateful.
The second show of the day, the television thing, went pretty well. The production guys all did a great job, and the crowd was made up of willing and able hecklers which always makes things more exciting. The show will replay on channel 15 in Irving (you can also stream it online) a few more times. I\’ll post those times/dates when I know them.
Saturday, Sept 17
@ VISTA RIDGE AMPHITHEATER
3049 Lake Vista Dr., Lewisville, TX
(Located S. of Vista Ridge Mall)
$10, all ages
3:30 – 4:00 41 Gorgeous Blocks
4:10 – 4:40 Peter Pan Syndrome
4:50 – 5:20 Darlington (featuring 41 Gorgeous Blocks)
5:30 – 6:00 Samuel Caldwells Revenge
6:10 – 6:40 The Immigrants
6:50 – 7:20 Alibkidoya Motel
7:30 – 8:00 KK Holiday
8:10 – 8:40 Scarlet Affair
8:50 – 9:20 Valeyra
9:30 – 10:00 Rockett Queen
10:10 – 10:40 12 Years Wasted
3:40 – 4:10 – Common Alibi
4:25 – 4:55 Already Proud
5:10 – 5:40 Swilley
5:55 – 6:25 Twin Jewels
6:40 – 7:10 86 Alert
7:25 – 7:55 The London Scar
8:10 – 8:40 Lady of the Lake
8:55 – 9:25 Enjoy The Fall
3:15 – 3:45 The News Can Wait
4:00 – 4:30 Before The Fall
4:45 – 5:15 – Long Awaited Ending
5:30 – 6:00 The Option
6:15 – 6:45 The Capitalist Kids
7:00 – 7:30 Enamour
7:45 – 8:15 Saints and Sinners
8:30 – 9:00 Your Future Addiction
After we get done playing Yuppiefest, we\’ll be heading to the Irving Arts Center to do a 30-minute live performance that will air on Irving Community Television Network. This show is FREE and everyone\’s invited to attend. We\’ll go on around 9.
Irving Arts Center
Carpenter Performance Hall
3333 North MacArthur Boulevard
Irving, TX 75062
It\’ll air live on cable channel 15 in Irving and will repeat at various times.
Saturday, Sept 10, 2005
@ The Red Blood Club 2617 Commerce St, Dallas, TX (214) 653-1641
41 Gorgeous Blocks
Agents of Goldstein
Immortal Soul early show, ALL AGES, starts at 7pm, 6 bucks, you\’re going
So we\’re doing this deal at the Red Blood Club on Saturday with fellow Grand Prairie rockians The Dropouts, along with some others. I call it a \”deal\” but really it\’s just a show. But it\’s our first Dallas show in a couple months and our first Deep Ellum show in more than a year. It hasn\’t really been a conscious effort, not playing Deep Ellum, although we have been aware of our absence. Really, it\’s because the thought of driving down the road and playing to either old drunks or no one at all hasn\’t appealed much to us lately. I mean, that\’s what tour is for, right?
Anyways, this one\’ll be ALL AGES and fairly cheap (a rarity in the Deep Ellum world), so I hope you\’ll at least consider just driving by and yelling something at us. Just keep it clean. Or at least somewhat clean. Hell, I don\’t care. Do what you want.
Okay, TV reporters, we get it. You\’re brave. Hurricanes are dangerous – they bring harsh wind, blinding rain, and do lots of damage – yet you\’re willing to go there and stand in it. We got it. I tell you what, how about you quit yelling at me to look behind you at the telephone pole that could snap in the wind at any moment, and I\’ll quit hoping it lands on you and your dashing raincoat if it does. Deal?
Tour\’s over and we\’re home. Thanks to everyone who turned up at the shows and helped us out in so many ways. Also, thanks to those who stayed and cheered us on from home. We\’d also like to thank our newest friends, Johnie 3, for sharing the stage and spending so much quality time with us before, during and after so many of the shows. Finally, our special thanks goes to Christy Darlington for having us out with him this time around. I\’ve known him for many years and am proud to have finally been on tour with him. He\’s quite a guy and quite a friend.
We had a great time and hope to be back at all -well, most- of these places again soon. But, for now, only one thought continues to bring itself to the forefront of our minds time and time again: That new album isn\’t going to finish itself. Looks like we might have to.
A couple shows, however, are coming up in September:
We\’re still alive, kicking and filling up the gas tank with fury. We finally actually played a show at Blonde Shells a little while ago, even though we\’ve been sleeping here the last three nights. Blonde Shells is this really cool basement venue in Silver Spring, Maryland run by the unbelievably kind Mr. and Mrs. Jones and their kids. Three dogs and forty birds, I exaggerate not, also help out with things \’round here. The show was great, the hospitality greater. And honing in on their neighbor\’s unsecured wireless internet is really coming in handy at the moment, too. Anyway, long live the Jones\’ and such. We appreciate them a great deal.
I told you about Baltimore so explaining how the show in Hanover, PA went would be redundant. Almost exact replicas of each other. Last minute booking, no people, an irritated owner, a pulled plug, lots \’o driving for nothin\’. Fun, fun, fun, as they say.
We have, however, done a bit more sightseeing, and as you\’ll soon find out, yes, we\’re those kind of people. The ones who approach total strangers asking them to snap quick shots of their \”group\” in front of some large landmark. Yeah, that\’s us alright: (more…)
Back at Borders, this time at White Flint Mall in Maryland, fitting right in with the uptight, unfriendly pricks who brandish sleak laptops and stares that could kill a guy. Oh and there\’s this really happy guy eating pie.
We\’re just here to grab some food and try to update this thing before we head over to Hanover for the show tonight.
Things have been going really good. The shows have been a lot more consistent and, well, all-around better than the West coast, though Baltimore was a bust. We showed up but no one else did, so they cancelled the show. We weren\’t too disappointed and didn\’t really expect much anyway since the show was booked only two days earlier. Oh well. At least I got to visit the namesake of my favorite Aaron Cometbus song.
I wrote some other stuff about New York and other cities in a notebook, and I\’m hoping to transcribe them later.
I gonna go eat and let someone else use the computer. I think we\’ll be posting some more pics in a bit.
We\’re back home for a few days. Sorry for the dropoff of updates. The rest of the West coast and Las Vegas went good. I have some more pictures to post but don\’t have any more double-A\’s to power the camera. I\’ll stock up again in a few days and get going with that.
Oh and thanks for the emails and comments while we were gone. Nice to hear from everyone. Keep it up.
On Saturday, my girlfriend Kim graduates from UNT with her Master\’s Degree. Great. Yet another real diploma to hang on the wall next to my North Lake College Associates \”certificate\”, dwarfing it even more than it already is. It\’s okay, though. I\’m very proud of her. She\’s certainly earned it. And, in case you\’re wondering, yeah, she\’s already enrolled for another semester. Sheessh.
On Sunday we leave again, beginning Leg #2 of the tour. That\’s right. Our tour could wear pants. Figurative pants.
Anyway, we\’ve also added a few local shows for September. Check the shows page, below the tour dates.
The FedEx Kinko\’s on Magnolia in Riverside, CA has almost become my home. Most nights we\’ve been sleeping at a house a few blocks away, and I\’ve been venturing down here quite a bit to take advantage the high speed internet. I\’m even considering naming the cubicle I sit at. (How would you even spell \”Cuby\”?)
I must say that touring is an odd thing. It\’s quite fun and even relaxing on one hand, knowing that the only thing you need to do each day is drive to the next club and play, but it also gets pretty darn boring during the downtime. And it turns out Sunday nights are a drag no matter where you are in the country.
We\’ve been going around a lot and passing out CDs to people in the area, trying to \”get the word out\”. What an odd process. You approach someone after making a generalized assumption that they might like your band from the shoes or shirt they\’re wearing; you attempt some small talk loosely based around music or bands or piercings or whatever; then if all goes well, you offer them a free CD to \”check out\” when they get a chance. Most people take it – many even offer up a \”thank you\” or a \”wow cool, man\” – but on occasion there are those who give you the glare, the same one you might give to those guys who show up at your door right as you sit down to eat, asking if you want to buy a newspaper subscription or crack or something.
And me, I\’m terrible at it. I usually end up either making a horribly wrong assumption based on someone\’s studded belt (it\’s amazing the genre boundaries those things cross these days), or worse, I simply end up chickening out at the very last second without saying anything, likely coming across as some sort of nervous-looking stalker-creep-guy.
Luckily, we\’ve survived so far and have even heard back from a few people who actually liked what we gave them. I guess that sort of gives you a sense that you\’re doing okay, that you\’ll be fine, and that you\’re not insane. Then you realize that you\’re still considering naming your Kinko\’s cubicle and recognize a homesick lunatic when you see one.
Good show. Nice people there. Too bad our van leaks gas. Not to worry, it\’s really not that serious. It only leaks a little bit and only while filling up. Luckily we have Tanner the Car Guy in our band who know how to fix things like that. (I don\’t even know how to honk the horn yet.) Should be back to normal tomorow.
We pulled into Oakland yesterday around 7:30. The Stork Club is a little bar on Telegraph Avenue where the logo on the door is really cool and the doorman is always a bit confused. Unfortunately, something had been messed up with the booking and the local band who was supposed to play (and bring people) never showed up. Not sure what happened, but it really doesn\’t matter.
Because even though it was the probably the lowest attentended show of tour so far, it still serves as the highlight. This is because 25% of the audience was made up of our buddy/hero, Dr. Frank.
Frank met us out at the club early and we went and (kinda) ate pizza at the place across the street. We talked about his book deal and how it came about. We talked about various bands and the various crazy lead singers of those various bands. During our set, he came up and sang a Mr. T Experience song with us (Checkers Speech). As he came up to the stage, I introduced him by telling everyone there to picture their idol in their head. Everybody did so and I told them that this guy was mine and my bandmate\’s. I still don\’t think anyone there realized just how important this guy is to us. After the show the bartender even came up and apologized to us for this being a \”bad show\”. I told him I thought it was a great show, and he kinda looked at me weird, twitching his mustache while doing so. Yeah, I don\’t think he got it.
We dropped Frank off safely near his house and drove back to Riverside during the night, where we\’ve been staying for free most the time (thank you, Perla).
Despite our best efforts to do otherwise, we\’re still managing to hang onto our sanity. Right now, Matt and Tanner are down the street swimming with seals near the boardwalk or something, Christy Darlington is across from me reading fashion magazines, occassionally commenting out loud to himself that he can\’t believe the kinds of things girls worry about, and I\’m sitting in a Santa Cruz Borders, finally able (and willing) to (attempt to) bang out a few (partially) coherent sentences on the ol\’ battery-failing laptop.
Yesterday we drove into San Francisco from LA to play at Thee Parkside. Tonight, it\’s up to Oakland to play at the Stork Club. I believe we\’ll be taping the show to DAT tonight.
The driving is somewhat soothing at times, and the sleeping bag is always comfy. So just as long as the loaf of bread doesn\’t keep finding its way to the floorboard where it\’s kicked, stepped-on, and repeatedly in need of a re-shaping, I just might admit to the fact that we are enjoying ourselves quit a bit out here. Oh and the shows are fun, too.
Well, Tanner just called and they\’re done swimming with seals, so I\’m going to pick them up. I think they\’re wanting to post some more pictures on here so maybe we\’ll be right back to do that.
I just got back from visiting with an old friend. It was funny how we started the conversation: right where we had left off… three years ago.
It sure is nice to know he\’s still keeping at it. Too many other friends either aren\’t or never were \”at it\” to begin with. Or, worse, I don\’t have a clue where they are, much less what they\’re up to.
We ended our coversation the same way everyone does in these situations – by saying how we\’ll call each other and that we should really do this again and more often. But really, that\’s a hoax. Neither of us want to do it more often. I mean, if it was possible to do exactly what we just did over and over again, I\’d be all for it, as, I\’m sure, would he. But there\’s just no way for that to happen. A nice thought, but an impossible one. Sure, we might could try our hand at a newfound friendship, one not based entirely around the past, but he knows just as well as I do that we\’d most likely end up exactly where we did years ago when we quit hanging out in the first place. And that\’s not good for anything.
Nope, I guess certain friendships are best left to exist simply as meaningful conversations that take place inside of loud bars a few times a decade. It\’s unfortunate, yeah, but that\’s what makes it so nice.
This Sunday, the recent acoustic songs we recorded for the Adventure Club will air. I believe we ended up recording \”Major Change\”, \”Resigned\”, \”Remind Me\”, \”Where\’s the Insight\”, and a butchered version of \”Out The Window\” by the Violent Femmes. Info here, if you dare.
Not too far off subject, my friend Steve recently dug up a cassette of him playing an atypical version of \”Sheena Is a Punk Rocker\” at a solo gig at Dave Art/Pawn back in 1989. Listen to this gem all the way through and it\’s interesting to note how much his audience sounds like one of ours.
Well, we\’re back online after a few days of nothingness. If I understood or even had the ability to understand what happened to cause such an outing, I\’d be explaining it right now, but instead, I\’ll just say that as far as I know, the website \”went BOOM\”.
But we\’re back.
The last couple of entries (as well as some updates on the Shows page) were lost in the madness, but it\’s probably just as well, because I have a tendency to write way more words than are necessary to relay simple information. Take this paragraph, for instance.
Anyway, here\’s all you need to know:
1. We are going on tour with Darlington in July/August. Both coasts and some places in between. Check the Shows page for dates, cities and info(although, it\’s all still being updated and is changing slightly as the confirmations and rejections come in).
A big thanks to Josh, Paul and the others for pulling off yet another fine Yuppiefest over the weekend. You wouldn\’t believe the amount of work it takes to do so. These guys practically kill themselves year after year to make this thing happen, and bands like us are eternally grateful for it.
The sun was ferocious, my friends. Ferocious. And any attendees who woke up Saturday morning still in denial about summer being on the way received a violent blow of reality to the head when the thermometer broke 100 degrees and kept going. However, potential long-term heat-enduced brain damage notwithstanding, everyone walked away feeling fine, and I\’m happy to report that this time around not a single case of minor heat stroke infiltrated our band (although for a few seconds at one point I\’m pretty darn sure I saw our drummer sweating air).
And finally, thanks to those of you who came out to watch. You\’re the real Yuppiefest heroes here, and we appreciate you making it fun for us.
So, now that our last booked show has been exhausted, it\’s time to get back to working on the album. Check back here from time to time in the coming weeks as I plan to post updates on how things are coming together and/or unravelling at the seams.
One more thing: A week ago, Matt and myself went up to the Adventure Club studio and recorded a few acoustic songs with Josh. They will air on July 3rd. More info on the shows page.
I\’m linking to this because it\’s a work of comedy that made me laugh and because I know several people who really need to brush up on some of the items discussed. Honestly, this is important stuff for them to know, and I\’d hate for them to be embarrassed one day over something as minor as not dissing the right album by a particular band.
It also has some handy rules and reasoning on the colors of undersized T-shirts that are acceptable to wear, as well as information on how to buy an easy-to-read, cross-referenced guidebook that will help you appear to have a well-rounded knowledge of music when you really don\’t:
For instance, you look up Built to Spill because you\’ve read about them in some indie \’zine. You see that there is this other band cross-listed with Built to Spill called Stuntman. That\’s a bonus because Stuntman is still pretty obscure. Where you really rack up the points is by pointing out that both those bands arose out of Treepeople. You couldn\’t pick Treepeople out of a lineup, but you\’ve just linked three cool bands from Idaho. That\’s right, Idaho. Who the heck is going to doubt your authority after that?
Again, I post this not only because everyone likes a good laugh at the expense of people who don\’t need to be mocked because they mock themselves, but also because several people, after laughing, waiting a moment and looking over their shoulder, might be able to take the information to heart and use the hell out of it.
There\’ll be an interview on the state of pop punk with Matt R. in tomorrow\’s (Thursday\’s) issue of Quick, the Dallas Morning News\’ free weekday newspaper.
UPDATE: Here it is:
Q: Do you think pop punk gets a bad rap? Why or why not?
A: Pop punk is a term that can excite one person while making another person shudder like they\’ve just seen their grandma without a shirt on. Maybe it\’s because it has become known as the genre you play when you don\’t know how to play very well. There is certainly evidence to back that up, but I base my opinion of pop punk on the great bands that have been tagged with that label because they play music that sounds simple to the ear. That\’s the key in my book: the good stuff sounds simpler than it really is. Just look at the Descendents or even the Ramones. There\’s a lot going on there that you don\’t pick up on right away. It\’s only when you sit down and really listen that you realize how much thought goes into it. That is especially true for lyrics.
However, we all know that for every Descendents and Ramones in the world, there are plenty of bands (national and local) who give \”pop punk\” the bad rap it deserves at times. But, to answer the question, I guess it all depends on what side of the \”shirtless grandma theory\” you find yourself on.
Q: For less literate readers, can you explain the band\’s name and its significance?
A: One day, when I was 15, I complained to my dad about being bored. He threw a copy of The Catcher in the Rye at me, and, as the cliché goes, my life was never the same. Our name was taken from the second sentence of Chapter 13 and signifies nothing other than the fact that I\’m an obsessive weirdo who made reading that book a prerequisite for being in the band. I even gave Matt a written pop quiz. Which he passed. Luckily. For me.
Q: After five releases, how has the band evolved musically?
A: The songwriting has had its highs and lows, but has always remained what it is: our attempt to recreate the specific things we love about our favorite bands. We\’ve actually become quite obsessed with the little nuances in our songs and often spend, or waste, hours working out a single drum fill or guitar strumming pattern.
Also, our producer (and ex-guitarist) Deedle LaCour, really helps, not only musically, but production-wise. His goal is to never record the next album the same way as the previous one – even when things seem to have worked. We\’re always using different drum setups, guitar tones, microphones, etc. I think his reasoning is that if you just remain in your comfort zone, you\’ll never reach what could be possible, and by consciously doing things differently, you not only avoid repeated mistakes, but also stumble upon new standards and rules of thumb. Either that or he just likes to try things out on us before messing up a paying band\’s recording.
Q: If you guys weren\’t playing music together, how would you spend your free time?
A: Matt, our drummer, would be rescuing and adopting any animal he laid eyes on; Tanner would be pin striping a friend\’s car or repairing his; and I would be sitting Indian-style in my living room with a blanket over my head, wondering where I went wrong. Oh wait, we do that stuff now…
Q: What can someone who has never heard of you expect from a live show?
A: Walk straight into the big, empty room – we\’ll be the three guys over in the corner making all the racket. And smiling.
Alright, now, not only is the new site up, it\’s also paid for!
The \”old bands\” section is something that\’s going to take a little more time but, once finished, will include info, pictures and songs from some of the previous bands we\’ve been in/ worked with. If you happen to have any pictures or whatever from the Kid Tested, Fitz, Ed Banky\’s Car, Self Serve, etc days, please send them our way. Right now, as we get it all together, we\’re doing equal parts scrounging and cringing. It\’s fun, though. In a way.
Back to the present/future for a minute: A few weekends ago we recorded bass, drum, and guitar tracks to 9 new songs. Throughout May, the rest will be worked on and, with any luck, finished. After one more recording session in July, we\’ll be working out the details of how and when this stuff\’ll be released. The tentative album title is \”What Do You Got Against Frozen Yogurt?\” but I can\’t see how that will possibly stick. Although, actually I can.
Other than that, a few shows are coming up. And check back in a few days because I may have some cool info on how we might be spending our summer.
UPDATE: I mean tomorrow-ish or the next day-ish. In other words, very very soon. Just don\’t give up on us, ish.
UPDATED UPDATE (4/21/05): Told you so! I mean, here we are. Not too different, info-wise, from the old site, but it\’s something else to stare at for a while. And if you haven\’t stumbled upon it yet, be sure and click the banner at the top a few times and see what happens.
There\’ll be some tweaks here and there, and suggestions are always welcome, but this should be home for a while. Thanks, Darren, for the help.
Oh and \”comments\” are turned on now, so leave the boys a love letter or some words of discouragement or something.
If you want the CDR version of \”Resigned\” (which includes the above 3 songs, plus a new acoustic one, and the entire live recording of Deedle\’s last 41GB show), click here or send a note and $4 cash to:
41 Gorgeous Blocks
P.O. Box 542122
Grand Prairie, TX 75054
I didn\’t think it was possible to spend several consecutive hours in a former strip club on the outskirts of Waco and not feel weird, dirty, and a little freaked-out for days and days afterwards. Somehow I was wrong.
The aforesaid place (which recently and thankfully received a good cleaning and remodeling) is where we played last Saturday with Darlington, The Dropouts, The New Stand, The Tastydactlys and Garage 34 (Here\’s a review). Thanks Andrew, Justin, Kim, Wes, Angie and everyone who came out and refrained from asking us the obvious due to the circumstance: \”How much for a lap dance?\” And thanks, Sydni, for the big, red button. I\’ll sew it on something worthy soon, and with pride.
Back to business: the 3 songs I spoke of and posted lyrics to the other day are very, very close to being done. I believe Deedle is doing the final mixing/mastering tweaks on Wednesday or Thursday, so we hope to have them up on the site next week. These three songs (and possibly a 4th, acoustic one called \”Where Are We\”) will also be released as a short-run CD EP. We\’re also figuring out the logistics of including the live recording of Deedle\’s last show with us from December. It\’s pretty rough (just two mics in the back of the room) but seems to have at least a little bit of character. Anyway, I think that\’ll be on it, too. The \”EP\”, by the way, will be titled Resigned.
I\’ve also been made aware that the completed, full version of 41gb.com will be coming to a screen near me very soon. I\’m not holding my breath, nor am I advising you to, but I feel pretty good about the prospect of it happening within the next few weeks. Until then, happy breathing.
Now, here\’s the other thing: April 9th and 10th we are recording 8 songs for what will be a section of our new full-length. The plan is to do a few separate studio stints over the Spring/Summer (instead of doing all the songs in one sitting like usual). We\’ll see how this method works out, but it\’s been pretty exciting working on everything so far, so hopefully a drop or two of that excitement will somehow make its way onto the tape (or into the computer, rather) causing it to come out sounding somewhat okay. Anyhow, if all goes well, or at least well enough, the album turnaround should be pretty quick, like maybe late Summer. Until then, happy breathing.
As you may or may not have noticed, the show dates in the entry below have been added to, expanded on, then subtracted from several times in the last couple of days. The once-existent Waco and Austin dates have been cancelled, or postponed rather, to other, as yet to be announced dates. With any luck, they\’ll be listed here soon and with accuracy and confidence this time. Until then, these two dates are about as concrete as they come, although I\’ve personally seen concrete shatter on numerous occasions:
Saturday, April 30
@ The Backroom
(5495 South 7th, Abilene, TX)
We\’re just taking it easy for a few days in an attempt get get rid of all the sore muscles and throats that we\’ve accumulated over the last month. After everyone\’s healed up to satisfaction, time will be spent working on new material, getting ready to record another album for the summer. Also, the 3 songs we recorded with Stephen Egerton last year are finally actually going to see the light of day, as they are soon to be mixed and out of our hair. Our hope is to have them posted on this website for free download before March is over. Oh, and this website is also on the verge of finally getting completed.
April 30 - Abilene, TX May 21 - Lewisville, TX (Yuppiefest)
I\’ll put up more details when I get them and keep you posted on anything else that may raise an eyebrow or an eyelash or something.
Not really thinking clearly, I went to the mall this afternoon.
While \”doing my time\” on the two-lane main road of the parking lot, idling for about 15 minutes, everyone (myself included) kept their eyes peeled and secretly prayed that they\’d be the first one to spot the next precious, newly backed-out-of space. All of a sudden this furious lady sped by me, on the wrong side of the road, then forced herself back on the right side, barely missing at least three bumpers in the process. She then held up things even more by insisting on trying to make a left turn at a place where everyone else was turning right. When the opposite traffic finally eased up enough for her to make her move, horns honked from all directions, and the livid woman waved her middle finger around like it was a giant novelty foam hand at a football game.
Now, even though the lady was a little bit – for lack of a better word – bitchy, I wasn\’t that annoyed with her. I\’m not trying to be all look- at- me- I\’m -a -helluva- guy- who- keeps- his- cool- at- frustrating- times, but I guess it was because I had a good CD playing and had already assured myself that this parking lot wouldn\’t be easy. Besides, the situation as it was, the slightest thing could have set any of us off into an illegal-passing, middle finger-waving tantrum, so I kinda felt for the woman – felt her pain, if you will. So, anyway, I didn\’t let the image linger longer than the five minutes it took to find a parking spot.
But what I found interesting about the whole thing was that, about a half-hour later, I saw the woman again, this time inside the mall, buying a man\’s wristwatch (an assumed Valentine\’s gift for her husband). She still seemed a little pissed, so I kept my distance and avoided any eye contact, but I could have sworn her left middle finger was in one of those \”jammed finger\” splints.
I wasn\’t sure what conclusion to jump to, so I just kept walking and let my imagination have the best of me, envisioning a giant novelty foam splint.
Have you ever done anything that resulted in somebody looking at you questioningly, mouth slightly open, with a really straight face, furrowing half of their brow so fiercely that you actually think you hear skin stretching and veins realigning themselves? If not, and you\’d like to, just walk into a Fry\’s Electronic store and ask them if they carry blank cassette tapes. Worked for me anyway.
Don\’t have any news except to remind you about the show Wednesday and to say that we\’ll be going up to the Adventure Club studio later this month to record another acoustic session with Josh. Not sure what we\’ll play or what we\’ll promote, but I feel mildly confident that we\’ll figure it out. Maybe even before it happens.
Other than that, we\’ve just been working on some demos and trying to decide what to do for Spring. There are a few shows in the works (you don\’t say) and we\’re thinking about the prospect of going in and recording a batch of songs for a possible release. Maybe a full-length. Don\’t know yet. Maybe. Also, we should know in the next couple of weeks if we\’ll be going out on tour this summer. Chances are good, but you never know. You never know anything. There are two things in life you can count on: not knowing anything and I forgot the other.
Oh and the title of this entry comes from Dr. Frank\’s latest post about \”organic\” food being forced upon him. Hilarious.
UPDATE: (2/8/05) Our Adventure Club date has been postponed. That Josh sure knows how to tease… and double-book, apparently. Oh well, not a problem. As long as he keeps the unauthorized bootleg J.D. Salinger short stories coming, I\’m a happy man. I\’ll let you know when we set a date.
By the way, be sure to go nominate Josh as well as anyone else who you think might be deserving of a Dallas Observer Music Award. Now that regular people get to make the nominations instead of just industry \”insiders\”, it might actually be worth paying attention to. And none of that ballot box stuffing or voter fraud. They send Zac Crain to personally come kick your ass. And, man, I wouldn\’t want that to happen to me… twice.
If you placed an online order through this website within the last 2 months and haven\’t received it yet, you may be the victim of a computer glitch that has been causing us not to be notified when online orders are placed.
The glitch is fixed now, but if you still haven\’t heard from us regarding your order, please send an email to email@example.com.
Well, the last two nights were just plain remarkable. Not only did they include great Mexican food and a couple hours of laughing and eye-rolling at that Ashlee Simpson TV show, but also, we got to play two really fun shows with our friend Christy Darlington and many other cool bands such as the Goners.
Christy\’s been all MySpace-happy lately (and rightfully so, since it\’s helping him meet a bunch of cool and interesting people, and it\’s helping him book his next tour), so be sure to stop by his page and become his \”friend\”. And it just so happens that our drummer Matt has finally set up a 41GB page there, too. Admittedly, I\’m a slow adaptor of technology and am still trying to comprehend the cult leader-like power (and I mean that in a good way) of MySpace. But it seems that many have already comprehended it and proven it to be a worthwhile – if not vital – venture. I\’m sure I\’ll get on board soon and join, probably right about the time it becomes yesterday\’s news, but until then, please feel free to visit Matt\’s page for us, and be-\’friend\’ us, too.
Thanks those of you who came out to the Aardvark or Fat Daddy\’s this weekend; we really appreciate the support. It\’s really been a lot of fun doing the three-piece thing again (it\’d been over seven years since I was last a part of one), but I don\’t know if I\’d feel that way if it weren\’t for the kind things some of you at the shows have said. So, thanks.
Keep your eye on the show update section, because there\’s a couple more coming up soon. February 9th at the Aardvark I know for sure (yes, that\’s a Wednesday, but don\’t let that turn you away just yet; it\’s actually going to be a pretty neat thing; details in a day or two).
UPDATE: That liquid foam still hasn\’t come off my hands. Tanner\’s either. We\’ve been walking around for two days telling people, \”We know it looks like it, but we swear to God our hands really aren\’t dirty\”.
Just an update. And a warning if you ever have to use that crap…
Oh and, yeah, uh, we\’re still playing shows this weekend, so, uh, come on out and stuff.
Wow. Soundproofing a room is difficult. That\’s what we were attempting to do to the new practice space yesterday. A few sheets of MDF (that means medium density fiberboard, I think), 40 feet of insulation, a can of liquid foam, and three neatly hung curtains later, we\’ve at least got the windows somewhat under control. A work in progress, I guess.
Oh yeah, and we played in Waco last Friday. Thanks to an enthusiastic crowd, a bunch of cool bands, one kick-ass promoter, and about 19 heat-belching barrels of fire (I\’m not kidding; it was literally at a junkyard), it turned out to be a really great show. And although our jackets and guitar cases still reek of burning wood, we can\’t wait to go back (hopefully in March).
Also, this Friday and Saturday we\’ll be playing in Fort Worth and Lewisville respectively (details on the right). The best thing, both shows are with our longtime local favorites Darlington. We hope you can steal a car and make it out or something. Don\’t forget, it\’s our local debut as a three-piece, so you won\’t want to miss out on the heckling opportunity of a lifetime.
41 Gorgeous Blocks is no longer a garage band. After more than five years of holding band practice in Matt M\’s parents\’ modified \”carhole\”, we\’ve packed up and moved. To Matt, Tanner and Wes\’ new house.
My entire loud-noise-rehearsing career has been confined to only garages, bedrooms, attics and used CD store recording studios, so I\’m especially proud – and a little excited – to be able to add \”living/family room\” to the list.
We cranked it up last night. The neighbors are either really cool or really deaf. Maybe both. Hopefully both.
Well, here we are. 2005. Kinda has a nice ring to it, don\’t you think? You know, if you say it under your breath and don\’t really listen to yourself…
No, I\’m kidding of course. Actually, one week, a couple holidays and a birthday later, I feel more ready to get on with a new year than I ever have in my life. I\’m not sure if it\’s the excitement of what could be ahead or the desperate need to get as far away from the worst hangover of my life. Either way, 2005, you\’d better watch out. Here I come.
I tell you, though, as I sit here thinking about it, 2004, to me, was a pretty incredible year for music. First off, five of my favorite bands all released great new albums (some of them almost too great; you know, the kind of great where you neglect everything in your life for a few weeks because you can\’t do anything but listen to it repeatedly until, one day, your enjoyment becomes obsession and you find yourself quoting lines to, not only family and friends, but neighbors that you don\’t even know or like the look of; then, without warning, you start to almost turn against the album, blaming it for either being so good that you now have nothing to look forward to ever again, or for wasting all of your precious time (and the chance to finally get to know your neighbors); and it\’s always just before rounding the corner of getting completely sick of and fed up with the album that you start to feel the dreaded grip of over-indulgence on your shoulder; you immediately once again side with the album, hoping that through combining your efforts, you can beat over-indulgence, and beat it good; but after trying numerous times to hit it head-on to no avail, you realize that over-indulgence is just too big, too fierce to compete with and that compromise is the only worthy road anymore; you finally put the album away – or loan it to your girlfriend – in order to keep your sanity – although that\’ll always be up for debate.)
Where was I?
So yeah, MTX, Descendents, J Church, They Might Be Giants, and Green Day all released albums in 2004. Great ones (although, if you know me, you probably know that my mood can, and usually does, turn on a dime when discussing the new Green Day; at this particular moment, however, I\’m sticking with it being great; well, good; well, not as good as their others, but… well, it\’s good; great even; maybe even better than their others; hell, I don\’t know; ask me in 2006).
I also got to see many of my favorite bands play live this year. All of the above for the ump-teenth time, with the exception of Descendents, although… well, we\’ll get to that.
I also saw many other great bands again including the Queers and Bad Religion to name a couple, and finally got to see one of my all-time favorites for many, many years now, the Violent Femmes. They were terrific, playing every song you\’d hope they would. So, stripped-down yet so richly fulfilling. That was back on St. Patrick\’s Day, and I remember having a 102 fever and feeling like suicide was the only remedy, but it still turned out to be one of the best days of my life. Everything and nothing you\’d ever want to see in a band (that was meant to be a compliment, although it sounded nothing like one; I guess that\’s what you get for letting your 2 day-old hangover do your writing…).
Anyway, I\’m not exactly Zac Crain here, so I\’ll stop already with the review writing. Just trying to get across that, concert-wise, 2004, well… ruled.
Now, in addition to releasing our 4th album in February, our little band also managed to experience the once-perceived-unexperienceable, when we played with our longtime idols, The Mr. T Experience. Such cool guys, great musicians, and ridiculously talented conversationalists. I still find myself reliving those moments in my head from time to time, during lunch breaks and quickies.
Lunch breaks and quickies aside, 2004 also made way for another very awesomely badassical (word courtesy of Darren Paul) moment in 41GB history: working with punk guitarist, producer, legend Stephen Egerton, from ALL/Descendents. I think somewhere in the August or September archives of this website lives a more detailed description of those weekends, but I\’ll just sum it up by saying that sitting in the control room with my friends as we all sang \”I\’m The One\” while Stephen played it on my unplugged, out-of-tune Les Paul… well, let\’s just say life can\’t possibly get much better than that.
Yes sir, because of the things I\’ve just told you about (and many I didn\’t), this last year was most definitely good to me. And although some not-so-good and some downright terrible things also occured in 2004, I\’m going to just focus on 2005 for a while.
I hope you have a happy new year, and I encourage you to consider what it is that you really want, and then… well… go get it, dammit.
I just got done blinking and looked up and we now have three shows coming up in January.
1/14/05, Friday – Waco, TX at TBA 1/21/05, Friday – Fort Worth, TX @ The Aardvark w/ Darlington and Uphill Struggle 1/22/05, Saturday – Lewisville, TX @ Fat Daddy\’s w/ Darlington
Also, as scary as it sounds, after years and years of wondering what exactly the heck people were doing with it to make those neat sounds, Matt Morris (our drummer) is actually learning how to play the bass guitar. What\’s even scarier is he\’s actually good. Who knew he could do more than just play any drumbeat known to man, befriend wild animals and cheer up anyone who is sad? Not I.
Well, last night was it. Thanks to all who came out and made it the evening it was. I don\’t think Deedle could have ended on a better show. And thanks to Red Animal War and Fishboy for taking part and blowing everyone away. We had a great time and really enjoyed seeing all the familiar faces.
We\’ll start back up playing shows (Deedle-less, of course) in February. I hope everyone can manage to stop by and say hi every now and then.
Also, Deedle and I are very close to finishing up vocals on the \”Stephen\” recording that we started back in August. At that point, it\’ll be sent back to Stephen to be mixed and then released in some manner. Three songs. Maybe more.
Seven years ago today, my brother Bobby died. He was 20 years old and I was 18, although even now as I sit here at 25, he still looks older than me when I picture him in my head. I’m guessing it’ll be like that until I’m 80.
For the first few months, I would think that I saw him when I went places. I’d be at the store or something and I’d hear a voice or someone would walk by and I’d do a double-take. It really hurt every time I realized it wasn’t him, so much so that I finally quit double-taking altogether. The look-alikes and sound-alikes would still walk by me, but I literally trained myself not to look beyond peripheral vision and would just focus on trying to enjoy those couple of seconds where it actually felt like he was there. I’d never turn around to see if it was or wasn’t him, and the feeling would fade naturally and completely within a minute or so, and I’d move on.
I write this not because I think you want to hear about my prolonged personal grief and craziness, but because I haven’t ever “publicly” addressed his death, and well, there might be a fair amount of you out there who don’t really know the truth. There’s probably also an even fairer amount of you who never knew him. So, I’m hoping this helps everyone understand things a little bit better. (And to those who already do know the truth and did know Bobby, I’m sorry, you’ll just have to sit through hearing about my prolonged personal grief and craziness…)
Right after the “gossip” hit the street that a 20 year-old punk-rocker had died in his sleep, the rumors started flying. Drugs, suicide, you name it. Some people had the decency to call us to verify or debunk stories they’d heard, but others were apparently just accepting them as fact and breaking their neck to tell everyone they knew. None of it was true, though. My brother wasn’t on drugs, and for the first time in years, he was actually excited about and looking forward to his life and wouldn’t have wanted it to end. But, you know, it’s really hard to debunk rumors when you have no other explanation.
You see, to this day, his cause of death is listed as “undetermined.” We simply don’t know what happened and never will. The autopsy revealed nothing. He just didn’t wake up one day. There is now some speculation that he maybe had an undetected heart problem, but no one has ever been able to look me or my family in the eye and honestly say why he isn’t here anymore.
I know it’s cliché to say the kinds of things I’m about to say– it’s the stuff you generally hear about anyone who dies — but my brother truly was a great person. Not only was he my bandmate and best friend, he was also my hero and the biggest source of inspiration I ever had and will ever have.
Everyone who knew Bobby liked him — a lot. Being the humble, self-effacing guy that he was, he would always say how he didn’t have any friends (and it’s true that he didn’t have very many), but then anytime you’d go somewhere with him, there would always be someone come up with a big smile to shake his hand and ask how the heck he was doing. He may not have had many friends, but he sure was a friend to a lot of people (the attendance at his funeral was proof of that).
One of the reasons why people were drawn to him is that he was enormously funny. I had always been (and still am) in complete awe of his cleverness. Two weeks before he died, I actually picked “My Brother’s Sense of Humor” as the topic for a descriptive paper I had to write for my English class. The assignment was to “describe your favorite thing”.
People also loved his artwork. It is incredible. His favorite medium was the captioned, one-panel cartoon strip, and his are downright hilarious. And actually, one of the things I’m most proud of in my life is that sometimes when he was working on a cartoon and needed a name to use in the caption, he’d ask me for help.
“Matt, what’s a good last name?”
“I don’t know. Banks, maybe?”
He’d just smile and look back down at the page as he finished writing out Mr. Banks’ caption in ink.
But the real reason so many people liked Bobby was because he was genuine. He was the real deal. He was the kind of guy who if he told you he’d call you back in an hour, your phone would ring in 60 minutes, no matter what. He wasn’t perfect, and never tried to be, but he was extremely sensitive and always did what he could, frequently going well out of his way to help people with their problems, big and small. (Right before he died, he had told me that he wanted our band’s next show to be a benefit for this homeless man he talked to every time we went to Deep Ellum. I’d never even noticed the guy.)
After the ambulance had taken my brother away, and after my parents and I had followed it to the hospital, and after we sat in the waiting room for what seemed like decades only to have a lady come in and tell us, “I’m sorry, but…”, and after I listened to my mom scream like I never dreamed she would, and after I saw my dad look completely helpless for the first and only time in my life, and after my girlfriend and her parents rushed up to do whatever it was they could even though they knew nothing was going to help, and after I rode home with my sister and her husband on the most quiet and confusing car trip known to man, and after getting interrogated in my own bedroom by some detective asshole who told me he “knew” what my brother had been doing and where did he keep his “stash”, and after I finally got the chance to just SIT THE HELL DOWN for a minute and think, I began to realize that life would never be the same.
It’s kind of funny, though. He hasn’t said a word to me in seven years, but somehow I’m still learning things from my brother. All it takes is a little bit of thinking and a memory will come along and hit me upside the head like a gigantic fist, knocking a tiny bit of sense into me. With each blow, I can feel the little bits of knowledge and understanding stacking up in my head. My hope is that, eventually, the final punch will be delivered, and I’ll look up one day and totally “get it.” I just hope the brain damage isn’t too severe.
I miss you, Bobby. We all do.
Robert Wayne Riggle, Jr. (1977-1997)
Cartoons written and drawn by Bobby Riggle in 1997.
As mentioned a while back, Deedle will be leaving our band at the end of this year.
We\’re just finishing up putting the final touches on the night that will serve as his \”going away\” party (or his \”getting away\” party, maybe I should say). Anyway, it\’s going to be free, all ages and with our good friends Fishboy and Red Animal War. We hope each and every one of you can work it out to be there and give Deedle some spankings. I mean, I know it\’s not a birthday, but someone ought to be spanked and, well, why not him? Come on. We can, like, leave a bruise and stuff. It\’ll be fun.
We\’ll be playing an \”extended\” set that night, so if there\’s a song you\’d like to hear, let us know now and we might actually be able to kinda pull it off maybe. (Requests on the night-of will, as usual, be politely acknowledged and ignored. It\’s just our style, man.)
Friday, December 17, 2004
@ Tony’s Pizza in Arlington, TX (Little Road location) click here for map “Farewell to Deedle” Show
w/ special guests Fishboy (acoustic madness/genius)
and Red Animal War (fierce yet friendly rock)
9pm – midnight or so, all ages, free admission, (good) food available
Back home. The Cretin Pop show was a lot of fun. This should be the last of the confusing \”October Show\” updates. (This year, anyway.)
Our next show is in December. Until then, for me it\’ll just be a couple history tests and some recording; Tanner will be saving up money to blow in Vegas next month; Deedle\’s moving for the 43rd time in five years; and Matt M will ride a few hundred miles on his bike, daily, alongside bobcats and leopards. Oh, and I think there\’s like a vote or something coming up. I don\’t really remember – I think I may have heard something about it on TV – but maybe we\’ll look into that, too.
We ARE playing tomorrow (Sat, the 30th) at the Cretin Hop (or Pop) Festival in Waco. I\’ll post directions and times just as soon as I can. All that stuff, believe it or not, is still being finalized. Regardless, it\’s going to be a great show, if only because this band will be there.
Also, that show on the right (the 29th one in Fort Worth) IS NOT HAPPENING. I haven\’t been able to get that side of the screen updated, so I\’m sorry for the confusion.
If you are planning on going to the Waco show and need directions, email me and I\’ll get them to you just as soon as I get them. I\’ll also post them here.
We\’ll be up in Stillwater, Oklahoma this Saturday at Mike\’s College Bar (317 S Washington Street, 74074) with Ophil from Wichita. Nine pm.
Then the next weekend, we\’re supposed to be participating in the \”Cretin Hop\” festival in Waco, but right now the status of it is \”looking for a generator\”. As unpromising as that sounds, we\’re sure Andrew and the boys will come through and make it the best gasoline-ran, Halloween-time punk festival Waco\’s ever seen. I mean it.
UPDATE: We\’ll also be playing a show with Joe Jitsu on October 29th in Fort Worth. Details coming momentarily.
Actually, why don\’t you just hear it straight from the horse\’s mouth:
A message from Deedle:
As 41 Gorgeous Blocks enters it\’s 6th year as a band
the time has come for me to step down. The decision has
not come easy but I believe it is best for me at this
point in my life. I\’m in the process of lightening my
load a bit and focusing on other important parts of my
I\’ve had a great time making and playing music with my
good friends and I will continue to support them and be
a huge fan of the music. Who knows, someday I might be
I\’ll be finishing out the year with these guys so make
sure you come out to a show and say bye.
Needless to say, we\’ve certainly enjoyed having the Deed onstage with us for so long. Matt M has been playing with him almost ten years and I\’ve been playing with him for over five, so things are certainly going to feel strange \’round here. But we certainly know first hand the amount of things Deedle\’s had on his plate for the last few years are just glad he\’s put up with it for so long.
It\’s also important to note that he\’ll still be around \”behind the scenes\”, as we, stubbornly, aren\’t going to quit making albums anytime soon and will continue to use the best studio and engineer this area has ever seen.
It\’s pretty much common knowledge that just because somebody works at Guitar Center, it doesn\’t necessarily mean they know their ass from their elbow. But what I experienced today has got to be somewhere near top of the “Dumb Things Guys at Guitar Center Do or Say” list.
I was looking for some small speakers for my home recording setup. I came across a pair looked like they might work just as a salesperson came in and asked if I needed help. I told him that I\’d like to hear the little speakers to make sure they sounded okay.
“Oh, they sound great, man!“ he immediately replied. I told him I wanted to hear them anyway, just to make sure.
\”No problem, bro,\” he barked and pressed play on a nearby CD player. After five or six seconds of silence, I looked around at the back of the speakers. They weren\’t hooked up. I pointed that out to him and he said, \”Oh, I know that bro, I was just checking something else.” I gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him carry on.
He picked up one of the small speakers and walked to the other side of the gear-filled room. There sat another CD player in front of a wall of about 20 other speakers – some big, some huge. He unhooked the back of one of them and plugged the cables into the one he had brought over. He then turned on the CD player.
All at once, this hideous techno number came blaring – and I mean blaring – out of every speaker in the room. (I would make fun of how it startled him so bad that he literally jumped off the ground, but the same thing happened to me.) Instead of just stopping the CD player, he started turning down every knob in sight. None of them did a thing. The “music” was so loud, my eyes were watering, so I reached over and firmly hit stop on the deck.
He said something along the lines of, \”Wow, that was a jam!\” and I didn\’t laugh. After doing a second or two of thinking, he hit play again.
The blood-curdling techno once again poured out of every speaker along the wall, violently forcing each woofer and tweeter as far as they could go, and beyond. And once again, my sales guy frantically started turning down knobs – the same knobs he\’d already turned only moments before. I decided to just stand back and watch.
About a minute (!) later, his ears must have gotten numb to the horrendous sound, because he was now smiling. I looked down and the little 5-inch speaker I was wanting to audition was in his hands, pumping its little heart out. I could actually see its woofer slamming back and forth with each manufactured kick drum beat. It was hurting and hurting bad.
As the guy bobbed his head to the distorted noise, we made eye contact. \”What do you think?!\” he screamed at the top of his lungs.
I started to answer him but, instead, decided to cover my ears and run away.
So, here it is – our new website. It\’s like the 19th one that Darren has built for us over the last few years. That\’s one hard-worker, that Darren Paul, God love him.
It is, of course, still one of those \”works in progress\”, so you can expect to see some random changes over the next few days and weeks. And obviously, all the other sections (music, bio, merch, etc) aren\’t here right now. They\’re being worked on still but should be up soon. The old site is still up, however, if you need anything.
Band-wise, we\’re still kinda resting up and not doing much of anything. Next month, we\’re planning to finish up those songs I was telling you about, and then maybe we\’ll try to figure out just what the hell is going on.
We\’re doing a few shows in October. Once I get those details, you should be able to see them over there on the right. (Speaking of the things over there on the right, the mailing sign-up is acting strange for some reason, so if you get an error message, you may want to try again later. Sorry about that.)
If you\’re looking for something more than this pathetic update, I suggest checking out this interview with Dr. Frank conducted by Ben Weasel. Really good stuff.
Just an update for those who care, neatly segmented to make it easy to skim through before rolling your eyes and clicking elsewhere…
As you may have heard a thousand times by now, in late August we went to Tulsa and recorded 4 songs with Stephen Egerton (guitar player/ producer of Descendents/ALL) at his new place, Armstrong Recording.
The studio was actually still under construction while we were there, and the fact is we probably spent as much time trouble-shooting wiring issues as we did recording, but that’s not the kind of thing you care about while hanging out with one of your longtime idols. We had so much fun and learned so much in those four days, and even managed to get Stephen to record guitar solos on two of the songs.
This truly was a big deal to us, but I realize that, especially if you aren\’t a Descendents/ALL fan, I may be coming across as a show-offy idiot that needs to shut up and quit being a show-offy idiot. But I just wanted to share it with those of you who might care and say that if you’re a fan of Stephen and in a band of your own, you should go record with him. He’s awesome. (And cheap.)
Here’s the deal with those songs, by the way: two of them are pretty much done and the other two have no vocals yet. And all four still need to be mixed. There’s also the others that we recorded in July at Deedle’s Room. They also need vocals. And need to be mixed.
So, if you didn’t follow that (or didn’t care to), we’ve basically got a six-song EP that will be nearing completion sometime soon, whenever we get around to doing vocals and mixing. At that point, we’ll post some songs on the website and then maybe decide how to – or even if we should – go about releasing it.
Other Tulsa news:
We also went back up there on September 4th to play at the Armstrong Recording Grand Opening. It was an awesome show that included 9(?) bands from all over the country including The Nephews, a band formed specifically for this show, made up of Stephen Egerton on guitar, George from Hagfish on vocals, a guy named Bryan on bass, and 41GB’s own Matt Morris on drums. Their set was made up of mainly Descendents songs, with a little Hagfish and ALL thrown in. It was awesome, and we’re all awaiting their return (hopefully in Dallas this time, since half of the guys are from here).
One more Tulsa thing to add, and I doubt they’ll see this, but we’d like to give a big thanks to Stephen, his wife Natalie and their family for their hospitality while we were there. We really appreciated everything. Also thank you Ryan, Hank and everyone at the studio for tolerating us living there for a brief moment in time.
…and now for the Non-Tulsa News:
Other than finishing up the EP, our only plan for next few months is to have no plan.
Other than a late-October show in Waco and getting our new website on board, we won’t be doing much for the rest the year so that we can work on other non-band-related things and just sort of rest for a while. Since late ‘99, we’ve been in this non-stop cycle of “write-rehearse-record-perform-repeat”. It’s been a very fun cycle, but combined with our other jobs and “obligations”, it’s also been a very draining one. We’re not breaking up or hanging up our hats or anything (although some, outside the band, might prefer it), just resting.
We’re hoping after December, the break, combined with the typical short-lived motivation everyone experiences at the beginning of a new year, may offer us the excitement we need to pick up and jump back into the cycle headfirst.
Our recording dates have been moved back a bit, so instead of later this month, we\’ll be heading up to Tulsa in mid August. We decided, yeah, we\’ll go ahead and wait until the studio has a working air conditioner.
\”it\’s a young man\’s game\” milo said to me about 10 years ago when i called him from an all tour, frustrated by the incredibly low turnout. on the other hand – my live monk album has like 2 people clapping. so if an audience of 2 is good enough for monk, it is certainly good enough for my sorry ass.
First off, this coming Saturday, we\’re excited to say that we\’ll be down in Austin playing with Hagfish, Cruiserweight and Pink Swords. Here\’s some more info if you need it.
NEW SONG NEWS:
Last month, we recorded a few new songs at Deedle\’s Room, and in late July we\’ll be heading up to Tulsa to record a few more with engineer/producer/guitarist Stephen Egerton from ALL/ Descendents. He and his bands have been longtime favorites of everyone in our band, so it\’s a drastic understatement to say we\’re excited about working with him. Nervously anxious to the point of giggling or crying with joy might be a more accurate description…
There\’s no real plans as to what will become of the songs as far a release goes, but we\’re trying to work all that out. We may possibly release an EP or a split EP with another band. Maybe we\’ll turn it into a full-length. Maybe we\’ll just post the songs here for free download. Maybe we\’ll just try to sell homemade CDRs out of a big overcoat on the street. Not sure.
Anyway, thanks for stopping by and we\’ll keep you updated on the plans as they form.
We\’re playing 2 shows this weekend: Friday in Fort Worth with Red Animal War and Tendril. Saturday in Denton with The Quickies and The Immigrants. Can\’t wait. Info here. *Please note that the Denton show may not happen if it\’s raining due to the fact that it\’s on a rooftop. Saturday, July 3rd
@ Cool Beans in Denton, TX
The Quickies, 41 Gorgeous Blocks, The Immigrants
10pm, 21 and up, *weather permitting
Saturday, July 10th
@ Emo\’s in Austin, TX
w/ Hagfish, Cruiserwieght, Pink Swords, 41 Gorgeous Blocks
9pm, all ages
Thanks to those of you who showed up at the Coffee Haus for the show last Saturday. I know it was hot and probably not the greatest sounding set in the world, but we thank you for coming and not leaving in the middle of it. Most of you, anyway…
Background info for those of you who don\’t know: we were scheduled to play a show at the Coffee Haus in Arlington last Saturday, and when we arrived, a note on the door told us that the place had been closed down (almost a week earlier) because they were unable to pay the rent. As you probably gather, no one called us to let us know. So, as we were calling everybody we knew and telling them NOT to come out, Deedle noticed a working AC outlet outside in front of the store next door (which was also closed). So, we ended up playing outside in the corridor of the shopping center for the folks who either didn\’t get a call from us, or who came anyway.
Moral of story: if you or someone you know has a band that is booked to play there, you/they may want to, I don\’t know, NOT do it.
Secondly, we\’ll be playing in Waco on Saturday. Here\’s some more info for those who might find themselves in that area this weekend.
Thirdly, it looks like we\’ll be recording a handfull of songs in July for a possible Fall \’04 release. I can\’t say too much now because the details aren\’t final, but we may be recording it with… no, too early. I can\’t say…
Lastly, [insert your own unbelivable rumor here]. That\’s right, you heard it here first!
Thanks for stopping by the site. We just returned from Yuppiefest. As usual, the festival was awesome, and a ton of cool bands played. Thanks to those who came and watched us \”perform\” – we had a great time, and, unlike last year, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF US succumbed to heat exhaustion during or after the set!
We still have a few of those free CD?s we were giving out, so if you weren?t able to get one at the show (or if you weren?t able to be at the show), drop us an email with your mailing address and we?ll send you one. It includes 3 songs from our new album (the same ones available for download) as well as some enhanced stuff.
Oh and the Texasradio1.com interview we did went pretty well, except for the fact that THEIR WEBSITE APPARENTLY CRASHED AND WAS DOWN FOR MOST OF THE SEGMENT!!! Oh well, luckily (to use the word loosely) I think someone managed to record it, so we might be able to post it here in the next few days.
I guess that\’s it for now. Go here for some upcoming tour info and here if you?d like to get the new album. See you later.
This week, we\’ll be doing a radio segment with Chaz on Texas Radio One to promote Yuppiefest. On Friday (May 14th) at 3pm, go to www.texasradio1.com and listen to us talk, play some acoustic songs, and pretty much prove to the world what awkward morons we are in situations like these. (Although, I must confess: I am a little excited. I mean, not to brag or anything, but I\’ve always been told that I have a face for radio.)
If you haven\’t familiarized yourself with what exactly Yuppiefest is, head over to their website and do so. We\’ll be there along with like 40 other bands. Always devastatingly hot, but always a lot of fun, too.
As far as band news goes, right now we\’re just working on some new songs and trying to figure out our summer tour plans. It looks like it\’ll be a west coast trip right now. If you\’d like to lend a hand with getting us a show in your neck of the woods, we\’d love to hear from you. Thanks a lot.
Also, June 5th, we\’ll be playing a show at Hero Records in Waco. Info here.
So, in addition to the YuppieFest Promo-Thingy that we\’re doing on Friday at Grapevine Mills Mall (yes, I said \”mall\”; no, I\’m not \”proud\” but, somehow, not \”ashamed\” either), we\’re also playing the Cottonwood Festival in Richardson on Sunday. Then, on Monday, we\’ll be in the library at UTA during lunchtime. Get all the details you could ever want here. All shows are ALL AGES.
In other 41GB-related news, Deedle\’s Room Recording, is moving. In May, the Arlington-based studio owned by, you guessed it, Deedle, will become the Grand Prairie-based studio. Go to deedlesroom.com for the complete story and a cool discography list. Deedle\’s our guitar player if you didn\’t know, or even if you did.
A big thank you to those who came out to the recent Mr. T Experience shows. We had a blast playing and meeting a bunch of nice people. The MTX cast and crew (Patrick, Bobby J, Ted, Jym and Dr. Frank) are the coolest/friendliest/smartest/most talented bunch to ever tour this country. That\’s a fact. Thank you to them for being so nice to us and putting up with and tending to all of our song requests! Go to www.doktorfrank.com and www.bobby-j.net
for MTX updates.
Also, a big thanks to Ghoultown for playing on Friday. They are a great band that we hope to be playing alongside of more often. They, and they alone, make the term \”cowskull\” an adjective.
We\’re in the process of getting some more shows together so please check back if you\’re into that sort of thing. Thanks for reading this, and we hope to see you soon.
We are very excited to announce that we\’ll be playing some shows with one of our longtime favorite bands, The Mr. T Experience. They\’re on tour right now for the release of their new album, Yesterday Rules (Lookout Records).
Also, thanks to those who came out to our recent CD release shows and to the bands that played for making it what it was: an exhausting weekend of pure fun. All four (!) shows were uniquely enjoyable and it was great to see so many familiar faces and to meet so many new ones. It\’s something that you strive for every time you play a show, but rarely get. But because you rarely get it, it makes you enjoy it so much when you do. Anyway, thanks for allowing us to get it this time around.
Deedle and I went out to Good Records last night to see MXPX play acoustic (and to do a little last minute self-promotion. Selfish jerks, I know). I’ve never been an MXPX fan, but I like seeing bands play acoustic and was actually looking forward to it. Deedle seemed moderately excited.
As we stood outside watching the crew members bring in equipment, my eyes focused on one them, a bald one. It can’t be. It isn’t… It is! It was Stephen Egerton, guitar player for ALL and Descendents. A genuine living legend.
My initial reaction was simply excitment- smiling and pointing him out to Deedle and our friend James, who had just met up with us. Then, cold hard reality set in: Stephen Egerton was a roadie for MXPX. He would be the one adjusting the mic stands to the proper height and handing freshly re-strung guitars to Mike and Tom in between songs. If you don’t realize the significance here, allow me to submit this analogy: it would be like Pablo Picasso cleaning up the fingerpaints and handwashing the smock of my 5 year old cousin. A true irony. And a heartbreaking one.
I really was affected deeply. I mean, the new Descendents EP just came out last Tuesday, and I have been listening to it non-stop since then. Although, really, it wasn’t just the fact that he was doing roadie duty for a band that arguably might have one-tenth of the talent he has in his right hand alone that got to me. It was also the conversation I had with him that did it.
After MXPX was finished, I walked against the crowd (who were quickly pouring out the door in hopes of snapping just one more picture with the band) and made my way up to the stage where Stephen was coiling mic cables. I introduced myself, saying how I was a big fan and how I’d met him a few times before but he shouldn’t remember me or anything. Then I asked if Descendents would be touring with the release of the new album. His answer hit me like a bullet.
“No. Milo’s real busy these days, so I doubt it’s gonna happen this time around.”
I quickly followed up with the same question about ALL, but all I got out of him was, “Well…” before we were interupted by a big burly dude wearing a T-shirt that read ‘Sorry if I look interested, because I’m not’ who I can only assume was the MXPX tour manager.
He shouted, Sergeant Carter style, “Let’s continue the chatter AFTER we’re done loadin’ up!”
Stephen rolled his eyes, then smiled and said to me, “I’ll meet you outside in a few minutes.”
A few minutes later, he came up to continue the conversation with me, saying how ALL probably won’t be touring anytime soon because they have a hard time bringing people out to shows these days. He said that when (and led me to believe if) the new ALL album comes out, they may do some touring, but he wasn’t really sure at this point.
I was numb and literally had to hold back my emotion by not saying anything. Deedle then weighed into the conversation and started talking recording with him (man, when two intelligent studio guys start talking “gear”, there’s not much to do but smile and occasionally nod your head to pretend you know what they’re talking about). They went on for several minutes, in which Stephen shared his belief (an obvious but often overlooked one) that the bottom line is in order to have a good sounding recording, you must first have good sounding music on tape to work with. Deedle couldn’t have agreed more (and my head nod was genuine at that point).
The rest of our 15-minute conversation consisted of small talk about Hagfish and Tulsa among other topics, and was interrupted once by a girl who only wanted to ask Stephen if she could get a backstage pass to meet MXPX. (again, that’s like asking Mickey Mantle how to get the batboy’s autograph, to me anyway). He handled it well, telling her ‘no’ in the nicest most friendliest way possible.
Just after he and Deedle exchanged business cards, the sarcastic-shirt-wearing manager was back, this time barking that it was time to “roll”. Stephen thanked us for chatting (he thanked us?) and told us to keep in touch as he slipped in the van and headed off to NextStage for the “real” concert.
It didn’t really sink in until I was almost home how sad I am knowing the chance of seeing ALL or Descendents live again isn’t too overwhelming. I dropped Deedle off at his house because he was going to the NextStage concert since his friend Rodney had scored some backstage passes. Deedle said when he went backstage, the only person he was looking forward to speaking with was the bald roadie, our buddy Stephen. As I backed out of Deedle’s driveway and started to drive off, I got the strong sense that Deedle was starting to feel the same sadness as me.
Saturday, February 21
\”Arlington Rocks\” Music Festival
@ Bob Duncan Community Center
in Arlington, TXnt size=\”1\” color=\”black\”>2800 S. Center St.
41GB plays at 4:00pm sharp!
ALL AGES!!! – $10 at the door- click here for more info
Saturday, February 21 FREE! acoustic in-store performance
@ AWOL CD Store
in Deep Ellumnt size=\”1\” color=\”black\”>2717 Main St, Dallas / 214-744-AWOL
6:30pm – ALL AGES!!! – FREE SHOW!!!
Saturday, February 21
@ Bar of Soap
in Dallas, TXnt size=\”1\” color=\”black\”>3615 Parry Ave / 214-823-6617
w/ the almighty Tendril!!!
10pm- 21 and up – FREE SHOW!!!
Questions? Suggestions? Got a headache? Please feel free to email us.
Our new full-length album \”Well I Sorta Know How You Feel\” is finally completely finished and will be released on February 17th.
CD release shows are still being finalized, however Feb 20th will be the Fort Worth one, and Feb 21st will be the Dallas one (actually, it looks like we\’ll be playing 3 different shows on the 21st). A spring/ summer tour is also in the works (if you\’ve got any ideas on where to play, let me know). Most, if not all of these shows will be ALL AGES! More info soon.
On January 23rd, we\’ll be playing in Denton at Andy\’s. This one\’s (unfortunately) 18 and up but is with some really awesome bands. More info here.
Blah, blah, blah. Enough commercials. I hate doing commercials just as much as you probably hate reading them. But It\’s one of those evils that I\’ve finally realized is a necessary one. I mean, self-promotion is THE hardest thing about being in a band (especially when you\’re completely D.I.Y.), and if you don\’t do it, you might as well just sit Indian-style in a darkened room with a blanket over your head sobbing to yourself about how nobody loves you, because in the end, that\’s what you\’ll be doing.
41 Gorgeous Blocks have been together since 1999 and this is going to be our 4th self-released album. When you combine that with the works of our previous bands, which date back to 1993, it\’ll be more like our 15th self-released album. Self-promotion has always been the pain in the arse that I\’ve avoided like the plague. There\’s just something about that dirty feeling I get when telling someone they need to \”Check out my band,\” or \”Go buy my new product,\” that makes me want to go take a shower and then turn myself into the police.
Alright, I\’m gutting it up to do one more commercial for our new album. Here\’s it goes:
NEW ALBUM OUT ON… ah, screw it. I\’m gonna go take a shower.
First off, I hope everyone had a nice holiday break (that\’s assuming you had a \”break\”, though I know some of you didn\’t- that poor Waffle House cook from last night for instance) and we wish you success in the new year. My New Year advice to you: don\’t believe the hype, create your own. Any advice for us? Post it here.
A big thanks to Henry Holt, Fishboy and those of you who joined us for our last show of 2003. We had a great time and look forward to playing (and doing Mad Libs) at The Moon again real soon. And who knows, maybe that drunk \”dradle\” lady will be there to entertain us all again! Oh and next time, don\’t park at the Radio Shack (Dad). Man, towing is expensive…
All of the free promo CDs are gone, but our new album is set to be out in February- more info very soon…
If you\’re in the Dallas area and you\’d like a free CD version of these 2 songs (with a bonus track), come to the show on Friday. If you aren\’t in the Dallas area (or if you\’re not old enough to get into the show), email us about getting your hands on one.
I\’m happy to report that we\’re almost finished mixing the songs for our new album. I say \”almost\” because there\’s still a couple of tweaks that need to happen, but all of the \”hard\” songs are done. By the end of this week, EVERYTHING should be done! The next step will be getting it mastered and then doing the artwork. We\’re shooting for a January release, but you\’ll be able to preview a couple of the songs right here on 41GB.com before that. I\’ll be posting the complete story of the Mixing Saga soon, which will include such great highlights as Deedle staying up for 2 days straight, and then in the 47th hour, as practically a walking zombie, managing to recite the first Adam Sandler comedy album in its entirety (with the help of myself and Matt Morris, of course). Stay tuned for that one…
Also, thanks to those of you on the mailing list that participated in our recent Music Industry Questionare. We got a lot of good answers (and some really funny ones, too). They will be posted here shortly for you to read and agree with/ scorn. Check back tomorrow.
We\’ve got 2 more shows before the end of the year, both with Darlington. One electric, one acoustic. Here\’s the info. Hope to see you there.
The lovable punk festival that has been making a stir in our community for the last 5 years, known as Yuppie Fest, has been \”shut down\”.
The City of Lewisville did not approve this year\’s request to rent out the usual facility stating that because of how much the festival has grown over the years, they didn\’t want the liabilty.
In reaction to this, Josh Hatfield (founder of Yuppie Fest) is putting on a series of shows at Texas Jive in Denton, calling it \”Yuppie Fest Presents\”. Each shows will include 3 bands that were on this year\’s \”would-have-been\” Yuppie Fest roster.
We are proud and excited to be playing show number 1 this Saturday. Go here for details. Come on out and show Yuppie Fest your love. Oh and on the way out to Denton, don\’t stop in Lewisville and spend any money.
I don\’t understand. You work for so long towards something you really really want, and then right at the end, all of your motivation gives way to frustration.
If you want to oversimplify things, the creation of a record usually consists of 3 main steps. First, the songs are originally thought up. This means that some guy (or gal) is sitting in a room somewhere, hacking away at their instrument of choice, when all of a sudden they stumble onto something that either they like or can\’t get away from (hopefully both). They play it over and over again, compiling a new thought each time, until finally they have laid the groundwork for something they would define as \”a song\”.
At some point, they show it to their fellow band mates. Then, step 2 begins. The leader (as I\’ll refer to he/she, the writer of the song) guides each person through their part; sometimes they tell them exactly what to play, other times they simply give a basic outline from which they are welcome deviate. The band practices and practices the song until, finally, they start to play it \”the way they play it\”. Everyone is comfortable with their own part and the leader is either happy with it, okay with it, or secretly discouraged with it (in the case of being okay with it or secretly discouraged with it, it\’s usually because they couldn\’t explain, or play, the exact parts that they originally imagined when writing the song, therefore they \”give in\” and just go with how it ends up. This can often wind up being a major cause of the intense frustration they feel in the end.)
So then, for some weird reason, they want to get this puppy onto tape for the world to hear, accept, decline, like, love, hate, worship, puke on, etc. Why they\’d willingly put themselves in this vulnerable position, we\’ll never know. But they do. This is where all logic and reasoning goes out the window and step 3, the Curse of the Recording Studio, comes in.
On day 1 in the studio, the task at hand always seems simple: just play the song the way you practiced it, do a few overdubs to \”polish\” it, and then mix it down into 2 stereo tracks that accurately represent your band.
The problem is that from the very first time you stop and start over with \”take 2\”, you\’ve sabotaged the spontaneity of the music. You see, music is meant to be spontaneous. When listened to, a song is just 2-4 minutes of time. If it\’s good, listeners will want to rewind and relive those 2-4 minutes again and again, but the fact is in the end, a song, from start to finish, only takes up 2-4 minutes of time. However, the process of recording a song can take hours. Possibly days. I\’ve even heard of it taking MONTHS to record a single song (although this is rare because burnout and/or suicide would have probably already occurred by that point). So, when you spend all that time on something that ends up being only 2-4 minutes of listening, it\’s heart breaking when those 2-4 minutes of listening aren\’t pleasing to you (the artist/ creator). The weird phenomenon is that this is common, practically \”a given\”, because you are so close to the recording by the time it\’s finished, your opinion is biased. You hate all of the time you put into it, therefore you usually hate the final product.
This is where self-doubt usually enters the picture. You begin to wonder what business you have in playing music. You start to compare yourself to other artists (a very dangerous action), and wonder why your \”career\” is not working out like theirs. You get really, really depressed and begin to wonder why you were even born. A short while later, you convince yourself that you\’re just tired of hearing the recording and that you just need a break, and that after the break you\’ll love it and be very proud yourself; as proud as you were the day you sat in that room and created the song.
So, time passes. Some of us give ourselves a month, some only a few days. But inevitably you come back to the same feeling: the record sucks and you\’re a complete phony who has no business showing songs to anybody.
That\’s when 1 of 2 things happen:
1) You believe what your burnt out mind is telling you and abandon the recording (possibly even your band) altogether. You live out the rest of your life as a bitter old man (or woman) that can never be satisfied with anything.
or 2) You realize that, as an \”artist\” who is constantly growing, you will never be completely satisfied with anything longer than it takes you to create it. You will eventually gut it up and release the record for people to judge for themselves. They will hear it, accept it, decline it, like it, love it, hate it, worship it, puke on it, etc. This exact process will repeat itself every time you create something new.
Recording days have been very sporatic this past week, but we managed to get ALL of the guitars/ instruments done and MOST of the vocals done.
Recording vocals. I love it. I hate it. I dred it. I\’m scared of it. It\’s such a draining process, I don\’t know how I\’ve survived this far. I guess I\’m happy with everything, though. Pretty happy. As happy I as I can be I guess, you know, with being sad and all.
Anyway, as you can see I\’ve just about lost my mind and the ability to think clearly during this stage in the game. A more legable update should be coming soon. Wait… oh yeah, we begin mixing this weekend. So actually, if I update then, you should probably expect a less legable one…)
Well, most of the songs have been sung. I spent most of Saturday and Sunday singing and writing/ rewriting. All but 2 of the 11 songs have been completed.
You might notice that I\’ve cut writing about this part of the process short. Well, I sat down a while ago and typed out the full story, about how annoying, hard, tiring, painful, depression, fun singing is for me, but then I just didn\’t feel like hitting that \”publish\” button. Maybe I\’ll try it again sometime, but really, it\’s just not that interesting.
Deedle\’s doing his guitar tonight and will start working on his vocals shortly. We plan to mix at the end of the month, but what do plans mean anyway?
Yesterday I finished all of my guitar tracks. I even managed to work in that new classical acoustic guitar I bought the other day, and on the most unlikely song…
Deedle\’s just a couple songs away from being finished. It\’s taking him a bit longer because he\’s only been recording in short bursts after he gets off from work. But he hasn\’t run into any tuning/ guitar tone snags yet, lucky bastard, so he\’s still getting through it pretty quickly. By Thursday, vocals will be underway. I\’ll be pulling more half day/ hour here, hour there kind of days, since vocals are harder to do (impossible for me) during long stretches.
Well, I\’m heading off to work. I haven\’t been there for a full day since Wednesday. Man. Who\’s the lucky bastard again?