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Entry date: 4-6-2024 – Weekend Update – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


So many things to get done this weekend. Luckily it was a relatively nice week. A little busy at moments, but easier on the soul than many of the last few have been. It was good to see Cousin Hal this week and also to spend time over at the J’s last night with our wonderful friends. We ate and laughed and some people drank.


I didn’t drink, although I did try a rather lackluster NA beer from a brewery called Wellbeing. I decided to give it a try and hoped it would capture some of the flavor I love about a good amber, but sadly, it just sort of tasted like…fuck…I don’t even know. I think I have learned my lesson on the near beer. It wasn’t terrible, but as Tom pointed out, Mineragua tastes better and is way cheaper.


Last weekend when I was busy doing all that demolition and putting in the new dishwasher, the thought of an ice-cold beer sounded really good. What doesn’t sound good is the way alcohol makes me feel. As I’ve shared, I just don’t know if I can be a casual, every once in a while, kind of drinker or smoker.


I wish I could. Maybe someday. Right now, though, the best thing for all involved is staying away from all of that stuff.




Excited for today! I hope to have a lot to share about today in the coming days. I will share either way.




Cocaine Baby had a few rough spots yesterday, but he made it through relatively unscathed. He did get kneed in the balls by another student at the end of the day, but it seemed like he was kind of asking for it. It was the bully I wrote about six weeks or so ago. That kid has come around a little bit, though, and the boy he was bullying even came to his defense. (They are buddies now)


The world is a strange and wonderful place sometimes. Let it be what it can be and help out where you can. Maybe we can’t really change anything except ourselves. When we change ourselves for the best, though, it can help someone see the light.


Maybe that’s like saying to let your light shine. If you do, you just might give someone else the light they needed to clearly see their own path. Sometimes the knee of karma, though, will find your balls.



(The Bet)


Got nothing today. Maybe tomorrow…but I am curious to find out what happens to Friday at the beach house. She’s going to at least try to have a serious conversation with her parents. There is a lot on her mind….


Who is sending the cards to Friday and Sean?





During my time in Berkeley, my roommate KJ introduced me to a lot of her friends. Most of them were super cool and a few of them became my friends, too. One of these friends was a guy named Rich. He reminded me of a lot of people that I knew back in Phoenix and Tucson who were part of the music scene.


I was a bit in awe of Rich because he was doing the ’band thing’ and I really wanted to the ‘band thing’ again myself. In hindsight, it might be a great thing that I didn’t find myself in a band while I was there because it might have made it hard to leave. Things have worked out pretty darn well for me, so I don’t know if I would have wanted to trade it, but that’s another story.


Rich was part of the group I went to the first day of the 1991 Lollapalooza tour with at the Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View on July 20th of that year. We had a blast and ended up back in Rich’s parents’ neighborhood in Burlingame, I think, because we were way too high on LSD to drive back to Berkeley just yet.


We went on a walking tour of Rich’s childhood stomping grounds. The musical overload of the day had seeped into our little after party and at one point we found ourselves in front of this huge rod iron fence in front of a mansion-type house. We started ‘playing’ the fence and had these incredible sounds going until KJ or Jim said, “The lights of the house just came on. We gotta go before they call the cops. You guys are fucking loud.”


I was so bummed, and I think Rich was, too.


After I moved back to Phoenix, Rich and I kept in touch a little bit and I even helped his band, ¡Carlos! get a show here in town in 1995 or so. He sent me a copy of their cd, Coriander Salamander, and I really liked it.


In those days, I tended to really like any CD that a friend of mine gave me because I was so impressed that they had a CD, but this one was truly good. The songs were tight and cool and clever. They also rocked. I couldn’t wait for my Phoenix friends to get to see my friend’s band from the Bay area.


I’ve gotten the benefit of the doubt so many times from my own friends who have put up with my nonsense a lot more than they probably would have if they didn’t know me, so I am not knocking having a bias towards someone you know. It’s a good thing to be proud of your friends. Making a record IS an accomplishment, for sure.  I’ve been fortunate enough to take that accomplishment for granted a little bit, at times, during my life.


One of the things I appreciate about ¡Carlos! now that I don’t know if I did then was how much they were paying homage to Minutemen and firehose, musically. There is a lot of similarities between what Rich’s band was doing and what Mike Watt’s outfits were up to, although Rich, who’s last name is Scramaglia, doesn’t sound anything like D. Boon or Ed from Ohio.


Vocally, Rich sounds like a more masculine Michael Quercio (The Three O’Clock…another favorite of mine) on some of the tracks on Coriander Salamander, and kind of just like himself on the others. The combination of his vocals and the often herkie jerky riffs is really tasty. There is also a ton of attitude on this record. Rich could be super snarky back in the days where we hung out some and I love how that came through on this disc.


The CD starts off with a fun little song called “Fucked Up” that kind of reminds me of a cross between firehose, Three O’Clock, and Redd Kross. It’s a great start and the rest of the album just kind of flows from there. Bassist Allan Moon was really good at playing these repetitive yet rolling basslines that sound really intricate but are mostly just an exercise for his left hand and right forearm.


Doug Lippi played drums on Coriander Salamander and his beats give the songs a great pace. These are mostly upbeat songs about Rich’s life and it’s fun to listen and go back 30 years a so to a way different time and place for me. In 1994, when this came out, I was still wishing I was back in Berkeley a lot, even though I had a lot going on here in Phoenix.


Another song I like a lot from this record is “Sliver In My Brain” which is the third track. There is a little hint of what I would consider “Mod” music in here. I think Rich kind of dug that scene a bit, if I remember correctly. Moon’s bassline is definitely reminiscent of something Bruce Foxton might have played in The Jam.


“Saturday” is definitely a mixture of Three O’Clock and Neurotica-era Redd Kross. I wish I could go back in time and talk to myself 30 years ago when I first heard this record and see if I felt the same way. “Rather Tell A Mountain” kind of sounds like one of the riffs off Dead Milkmen’s Big Lizard In My Backyard. It’s fast and on a bit of an attack of the senses.


“Slide” is up directly after “Rather Tell A Mountain” and changes things up quite a bit. This one is a mid-tempo kind of indie-pop power ballad, although “ballad” is a poor choice of words. It’s nice, though, and sets up the big finish. “Wreck the Wreck” has some pretty muscular guitar riffage from Rich and sounds damn good.


The last true studio song on the record is “Ng” and it’s got this big slow burn of a hook in it that Moon’s bass totally sells. If memory serves, these guys had all been playing together for quite a while at this point and you can feel the confidence in their playing on this one right through the speakers.


¡Carlos! was a really cool band. I wish my old buddy, Rich, well. Lots of great music came from the Bay area and these guys should not be overlooked.




See you tomorrow.

What the hell, AI?

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