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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Chicken Rawk!

This just in, via

The keyboard players in my band were spacier than Sun Ra, more abstract than John Coltrane and brought more sheer, squalid anarchy to the stage than GG Allin and the Sex Pistols combined. When they weren’t playing music they were either feeding, fighting, or shitting on the floor – and they managed to do a lot of that onstage, too. But they didn’t just act like barnyard animals, they were barnyard animals: the keyboard players in my band were two chickens named Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline.

I played percussion on a modified vintage typewriter miked up loud enough to sound like the thunder of an angry God. At that volume, the space bar and shift keys rumbled like a kick drum, and the letter keys snapped like a tight snare. My friend Tim Gordon (the band’s other human being) played the guitar and bass semi-simultaneously, wearing the guitar up by his collarbone and the bass slung low at his hips – he’d loop the bass notes through a pedal and play rhythm guitar against himself while I thumped and cracked the typewriter. Once we hit a stride of sorts, we’d pull a blanket off the top of the cage where Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline sat with two little Casio Keyboards.

We’d glue chicken feed to the keys we wanted them to hit the most, the ones in tune with Tim. But really, whatever the chickens played was up to them – we just tried to follow along as best we could. We told ourselves that we were influenced by classic country, John Cage, dub reggae and Gonzo the Great. But really, we just tried to create listenable backing rhythms while two birds with brains the size of your pinkie nail took center stage.

A lot of people over the years have asked me “but why? Why’d you even DO this in the first place?” Sometimes you fall in love with an idea and it just grips you tight and won’t let you go until you give birth to it.Thomas Edison, it was the light bulb. For George Mallory, it was Mount Everest. For us, it was chickens playing keyboards. And really, the only answer is because.

Here's the link to the complete post. .. and the MP3!
This reminds me of a concept band we had in high school. Rather, it was a concept to have a band called "Seasonal Affliction". We never actually got the band together, but if we did, it woulda ruled. My friend Ira played the car steering wheel (while driving), so he would have been the percussion section, pounding out the rhythm and terrifying his passengers. Now, it so happens that I have Ira's email address lying around, so now that I've drudged up this memory, I obviously have to drop him a line...

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