More San Diego shows announced for Javier Escovedo and the City Lights! I’m very excited to be playing more shows with this great band, and wanted to share the dates of the confirmed upcoming shows in America’s Finest City. It’s going to be a busy summer and fall for us, so buckle up! Javier Escovedo and the City Lights performing at Ray at Night. Pictured: Javier Escovedo and Anders Larsson. (Photo by my little sister, Catie) Confirmed shows include: August 30 - Tin Can Ale House September 5 - Lestat’s (all ages!) September - 11 Mary Jane’s Underground (Hard Rock Hotel) September 27 - Adams Avenue Street Fair (all ages) October 6 - the Casbah Rumor has it we will also be making an appearance on NBC7’s SoundDiego TV program, doing an interview with Tim Pyles, playing a show at my favorite La Mesa venue, the Riviera Supper Club, playing the Tower Bar’s epic monthly Punk Rock vs. Hip Hop event, and doing an in-store at San Diego’s coolest record store, M-Theory. I can’t say enough about how much fun I have playing with Javier, Xavier Roji Anaya, and Thomas Kitsos. It’s a real privilege to play with those guys, and I learn something new every show. I’m looking forward to what’s in store for us in the coming months. Thanks, as always, for staying tuned in!
When I was getting my master’s degree at San Diego State University, I was part of Dr. Bill Nericcio’s MALAS program there (Masters of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences). MALAS, as I’ve written about before, is part of the exciting and growing field of Cultural Studies. Though there are of course people who disagree with this, I think that Cultural Studies programs are —one way or another— gradually replacing English programs. After all, we want context in the 21st century, and this is exactly what Cultural Studies gives us. Where the disciplines of English and Literature are one-stop train stations that address characters, writing, and so on, Cultural Studies gives us a broader, interdisciplinary framework. Why stop at reading Jane Eyre, analyzing the novel’s structure, theme, character development, and so on, when we can instead place it in the context of 19th century England, and then allow the novel to lead us into discussions of identity, gender, class, nationalism, etc. Some might argue that this is what a good English department has always done, but Cultural Studies takes this further by allowing us to “read” films, comics, music, art, maps, neighborhoods, international borders, and so much more. This is exactly what I did with my master’s thesis, entitled “Wax Without Honey: The LP as Post-WWII American Zeitgeist”. In this work, I explored how the long playing phonograph record embodied the spirit of America from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Here is a link to what ended up being a warm-up of sorts for that published work. This considerably shorter essay, entitled “Nosferatu as 20th Century German Zeitgeist” explores how both F. W. Murnau’s 1922 masterpiece and Werner Herzog’s equally brilliant and important 1979 version both captured the spirit of Germany before and after the the Second World War and the Holocaust. The essay, exploring New German Cinema (NGC), the music of Popul Vuh, Dracula vs. Count Orlok, the impacts of war, and more, remains my most popular paper on academia.edu., with 340 views to date (I’m sure the subject matter of vampires has something to do with that!). A still from Murnau’s Nosferatu. I explore the importance of the shadow in the essay, “Nosferatu as 20th Century German Zeitgeist”, by Anders Larsson. In any case, here is a link if you care to peruse this paper I wrote back in 2013. Enjoy, and thanks for staying tuned in! https://www.academia.edu/4140848/Nosferatu_as_20th_Century_German_Zeitgeist
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m excited to be playing at a Burger Records festival next month in my usual role, playing drums for the one and only Gary Wilson. I write about Gary often, since it’s such a thrill and privilege to play with someone so artistically inspiring and important. Gary has influenced artists all around the globe (the role call includes Beck, Foxygen, Ariel Pink, Questlove, the Residents, and Tyler the Creator ), and rightfully so. I’ve crossed paths with and become aware of really interesting people since I started working with Gary, and that brings me to the legendary R. Stevie Moore. Moore and Wilson, 2014. Photo Adam Malec I find myself eager to tell people about R. Stevie Moore, in much the way I do with Gary. I’m constantly pulling out my phone at venues and bars to show snippets of Youtube videos by both artists, giving quick backgrounds, etc. and usually find kindred souls eager to talk about them both as well. I find it’s like that with art that really resonates with me, and I love the feeling of just being compelled to share something exciting with people around you who will probably also be moved by - or at least relate to -that art. The parallels between Gary and R. Stevie Moore are astounding, and I’m sure many people have already succinctly and accurately pointed to them, so I won’t belabor the point here. This is not to say they are not unique as artists, because they both are, and that is so much of their appeal. But they inspire in a similar way — where some artists may dazzle, or pull energy inwards (commanding admiration, envy, etc.) these two artists seem to to the opposite, at least in my experience. I find that their work inspires and enables creativity in others. Many is the time I have heard a friend, colleague, or stranger say after a Gary Wilson show something along the lines of, “Wow…I can’t wait to get back to my project. I have so many ideas now!” And it’s not that they’re going to do something similar to Gary’s work, but rather that his individuality and sense of lifelong commitment to his vision serve to remind creative people that the road is long, and also inspiring and rewarding. Ultimately, it’s not about the distractions of immediate material success, but instead about a lifelong process. I haven’t met R. Stevie Moore yet, but I get the same feeling from him. Recently I saw he pointed out on his Facebook page that he is “Mo-Fi,” not “Lo-Fi,” and explained that he invented Modern Home Recording. Both Gary Wilson and R. Stevie Moore provided a template, way before the dawn of the internet, for artists seeking real expression outside mainstream channels of production, distribution, and promotion. They both continue to evolve and inspire, decades after their first recordings, and again, I find this so inspiring. It reminds me of when Brian Wilson once explained that the Beach Boys classic “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” wasn’t melancholic nostalgia, but rather an eager look to the future. I feel confident that the Inventor of Mo-Fi has so much great work ahead of him, as does Gary (you think you really know him?). August’s show can’t come soon enough!
I had the pleasure of recording with my great friend and collaborator, Stephen Rey, yesterday at Solid Air Studios in Escondido. As most of you know, Stephen and I howl with each other as often as we can as Two Wolves, but yesterday’s work was for other creative endeavors. I’m not sure which other talented people are involved with this project, but rumor has it that one of my favorite San Diego pianists, Ed Kornhauser , was stopping by to lay down some piano tracks later in the evening. I’ve also heard murmurings that San Diego Music Award-winning vocalist Erika Davies will be lending her talents to these recordings. The images here don’t even come near doing this place justice — this studio/house is truly inspiring, and it was easy, quick, and fun to lay down drum tracks for four songs here. As always, more details to come, and thanks for staying tuned in! Solid Air Studios in Escondido. Photo by Anders Larsson Stephen Rey. Photo by Anders Larsson Drum Room/My office for the day. Photo by Anders Larsson