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THE LATEST FROM THE RANCHO

Monday, February 24, 2003

HAD TO WAIT TO TELL THE WORLD UNTIL IT WAS A THING OF THE PAST BUT HERE IT IS: JOSH HOMME JUST FINISHED HIS DESERT SESSIONS 9 & 10 AT THE RANCHO. SPECIAL GUEST ARTIST AND VISITING GODDESS OF ROCK AND ROLL: POLLY JEAN HARVEY!!! I can only say that, as a fan of hers for the past ten years, I was not at all disappointed meeting her. She's an absolute joy. An amazing singer and poet as the world knows. A total professional. I had the pleasure of walking in late one night to hear the playback of a piece of divine inspiration called "neva BE" (as in "there'll neva be a greater time than this...") the words to which she had improvised over Chris Goss' hypnotically repetitive guitar mantra. ALL RECORDED LIVE IN ONE TAKE, Josh had the perfectly good sense to leave it exactly as it was, no overdubs necessary, thank you very much. Goss co-wrote another track with Polly; our own partner, the Humble and Best Dressed Guitar Genius David Catching co-wrote one with her (and engineered the entire session)...Alan from Eleven, Twiggy, Mickey (Dean) from Ween, and many others (I'm too cool to ask who they are and not cool enough to know...) took part in the recording, which produced close to twenty songs in six days!!! Unbelievable. Polly's doorway shot (http://www.ranchodelaluna.com/RanchoDoorway/pages/PollyJean.htm) and an autographed copy (along with personal autographs to me on my copies of "Bring You My Love" and "Rid of Me") now adorn the Rancho. I hate to sound like a groupie. I am not a fan of much contemporary in rock, sorry to say. But hearing PJ Harvey coming out of the same NS-10's as my voice- and Fred's, Elia's,Tony's, etc - I must admit to being a bit knocked out by it all. After they left, Tony and I put up my song "Death of Cool" - written for Mario, Fred and all the other Grateful Departed in our lives these days - and our Mohawked Maestro Guitar Guru Dave Catching played a masterful piece of heaven, for which I bowed , knelt , whirled and jumped into the volcano.
ON THE PEACE FRONT...FRED BURKE, OUR FAVORITE CATHOLIC (next to my dad, of course) and our main man in CHICAGO REPORTS THE FOLLOWING, AFTER POPE JOHN PAUL (georgeringo) THE SECOND DECLARED PEACE ON TONY BLAIR, the SOON-TO-BE EX-PRIME SINISTER OF ONCE-GREAT BRITAIN, CALLING ON ALL CATHOLICS TO FAST FOR PEACE on ASH WEDNESDAY (I think I'll even go get my forehead smudged for the first time since I was a spoiled child, spared the rod of being an altar boy) :   In local news...
The Chicago Tribune makes me register to see their worldvision (or lack thereof). Two headlines, and appropriate paragraphs: 'MOLOTOC COCKTAIL TOSSED IN CATHEDRAL' & 'MINOR FIRE STARTS IN HOLY NAME; no one is injured.' No witnesses saw who tossed the device into the church around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, authorities said. No one was injured. Passersby noticed smoke and alerted about 100 people who were attending mass in the church at Chicago Avenue and State Street, said Rev. Dan Mayall, pastor of Holy Name. Church officials have no idea what motivated the act, he said. Voices against war ring out across area. Religious leaders, activists, citizens embrace protests "I don't totally believe the administration is not listening," said Methodist Bishop Joseph Sprague, one of the city's most vocal pro-peace clergymen. At the time, Sprague was marching in a mock funeral procession through the Gold Coast. Sprague earlier told an overflow crowd at Holy Name Cathedral that grass-roots opposition "is the most potent weapon in the world with which to challenge the domination theory of the Bush administration." Funny to find Holy Name Cathedral in two different articles today. With NO thought at all that a Molotov Cocktail was thrown on Saturday into a Cathedral where an Interfaith Peace Rally and March were to be held on Sunday... It was an amazing event. Among the sponsors present: *      American Friends Service Committee (their NYC chapter designed and distributed the beautiful World Trade Center peace sign button i wear , tq) *   Chicago Metropolitan Association, United Church of Christ *   Episcopal Diocese of Chicago *   Episcopal Peace Fellowship *   Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ *   Leadership Conference of Women Religious *   Pax Cristi *   Peace and Justice Office of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese *   Peace Museum *   Presbytery of Chicago *   United Methodist Church, Northern Illinois Conference. Unquoted in the press was the Methodist Bishop's unknowing allusion to the Inner No (see: " THE I CHING: a guide to the cosmic oracle" by carol k. anthony & hanna moog, whenever you're ready to change your life with the world's most radical self-help philosophy book! tq) -- something along the lines of, "President Bush has said that he will not listen to Anti-War protesters -- but God is listening!" I also loved the man who got up toward the beginning and said that perhaps too much was being made of collateral damage -- of "innocent" lives being lost. Again, paraphrasing, "Every soldier who dies on either side is a HUMAN BEING, fulfilling his commitment to military service. Every human life matters." And then we all began singing "Peace, Salaam, Shalom," over and over, a mantra, as we walked in the cold sun. http://www.pathumphries.com/WE_BELIE.MP3 It was hard for anyone to dissent. Shoppers with their bags joined us on the gentle walk, 2000 strong, and people in the windows of local businesses waved. I heard only one rabble-rouser, "Bet you believe in killing babies, though!" "No," said one man quietly. "I'm Roman Catholic." (good comeback. still, if men had babies, abortion would be a sacrament. one of the places where the church and i part company. oh well...tq) Sunday's sermon at the little Methodist church I attend was on Sin, both private and communal -- the need to admit sin and ask for forgiveness. And the example used for communal sin, for sin done in our name but for which we don't bear personal responsibility, was the biochemical weapons the U.S. gave Iraq to help topple Iran...(sin is another concept i have trouble with, for that matter...but wanna hear a great joke - as fwd'd by fb?? how does the u.s. know saddam has weapons of mass destruction? they kept the receipts! go ahead, lol...tq) Anyway, much to ponder these days. Hope you don't mind my lack of a journal. Your inbox seems friendlier. :) GREAT REPORTING, FRED. Now my two (tq) cents: I WAS EMBARRASSED AND HORRIFIED by the more-lame-than ever Grammy Awards. Best part: Willie Nelson's Shaving Commercial for H&R Block. Runner up, blatant jingoist Bruce (NEVER THE NEW DYLAN) Springsteen and heartfelt but equally obnoxious country 9/11 exploiter Alan Jackson cancelling eachother out all night (at least McCartney's flag-waver puke-inducer wasn't in the running!) so that adorable and not full of herself (like all of her teenqueen nose and breast job competitors) Norah Jones ("freakin' out" that the Divine Wedding Cake Aretha Franklin was giving an award to her) took all the major awards - thanking Rancho Alumnae and Drum-Deity Brian Blade !!!. Congratulations to Rancho friend Dave Grohl, although we were pulling for the underdogs and also GREAT FRIENDS of La Lunita, Los Reinas de la Stone Age...Big Yuccck to Nelly - with BIG PYROTECHNIC display going on behind equally embarrassing 'choregraphy' and 'song'...do these record industry people live in such a coke and limo-fume-filled vaccuum that they don't see the disgust of having the fireworks show four days after 97 real people died in a real fire caused by the same outdated and lame pyro show in Rhode Island? (see www.nomadhouse.com for my take on the end of 'live' music, if you wanna...) Tasteless, stupid and so fucking out of touch! It makes me realize why we at the Rancho are not at the assenine patting-ourselves-on-the-back-fest and are actually engaged in making music (THE QUEENS, FOR EXAMPLE WERE TOO BUSY PLAYING FOR ACTUAL BREATHING FANS LAST NIGHT TO PUT ON MONKEY SUITS AND KISS UP TO MAYOR ("Ride those poor horses into the crowd of peaceful demonstrators") BLOOMBERG and that crowd of pony-tailed ice-chewing dweebs of the (dying) Record Industry. I'd much rather rap with a real poet, like the Pope, than dine on the tiny shrimp Michael (it's not easy being) Greene eats between sips of Oxygen water. At least the POPE uses his position to oppose THE WAR. The tribute to Joe Strummer (okay, maybe Elvis Costello, possibly that E-Street guy with the scarf on his head, who used to have enough integrity to not 'play Sun City', and Dave Grohl - who obviously played drums with the great Kurt Cobain) was an attempt at some of the Clash's fiery Purpose..."London Calling" is a great song and a pretty good choice, but what a missed opportunity to SAY something with, hmm, "Rock the Casbah," or any number of Strummer's more overtly anti-war songs!!! At least Sheryl Crow had a guitar strap that said "NO WAR" and the great activist Bonnie Raitt - and Limp Bizkit Fred Durst - muttered something resembling "PEACE." Otherwise, we really missed Joe Strummer, the Ramones or even just Soy Bomb for some kind of a sign of life. Those sweet surviving BeeGees were visibly moved to be honored...if you can call having a medley of hits sung by 'NSync an honor... Soulless and bland, the boy band may have reminded everybody how much heart the Bee's put into even their silliest songs (and they weren't all that silly, when compared with what passes for 'songs' these days!) Oh well, the Grammies made an attempt, for a couple of years, to be relevant - to make up for naming A Taste of Honey as best new artist when Elvis Costello was also a nominee. Maybe next year. OR NOT!
As Patti Smith once said when I saw her reading poetry on same the night MTV was having its award show: "I didn't expect anybody to show up here tonight. I thought everyone would be home watching TV...Y'KNOW, THERE'S NOTHING MORE PATHETIC THAN A BUNCH OF YOUNG PEOPLE GIVING EACHOTHER AWARDS." As always, Patti nails it in far fewer words than I, the wordy MF, use to get a point across.


Thursday, February 06, 2003
ThIs JuSt In FrOm DaNdY bRoWn, OrQuEsTa De DeSiErTo PrOdUcEr, FrIeNd Of ThE rAnChO, nEwLy TrAnSpLaNtEd JoShUa TrEe ReSiDeNt: It's official . . . there's a new Brown.
Calliope Deseo Brown/
Born February 5, 2003/
4:17 PM/
6 pounds 4 ounces/
19.5 inches/
LOVE THE NAME CALIOPE. PUTS US IN THE MIND OF FAERIES AND MERRY-GO-ROUNDS AND SUNNY DAYS IN THE PARK...LOVE TO MOMMA ANNALISE & BIG SISTER CARLY & DADDY DANDY, TOO!!!

Sunday, February 02, 2003
MORROCCAN is finishing up it's MAD NEW RECORD. it's psychedelic, wild, powerful ART for the insane world of NOW!!!TONY MASON is having a lot of flashback fun mixing the FREAKY MANIA which is their FUNHOUSE SOUND!!! Look for the release on the ELEPHANT STONE label in June! SPEAKING OF SOON: Andrew Dansby, for ROLLING STONE Magazine (December 3, 2002), reports the release of Songs From the Material World, a tribute album to GEORGE HARRISON due February 25th, which would have been Harrison's sixtieth birthday. "The album includes Harrison songs penned for the Beatles -- including a cover of "Here Comes the Sun" by the late Who bassist JOHN ENTWISTLE and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by RUNDGREN -- and solo songs including "Devil's Radio," covered by MASTERS OF REALITY." CHRIS GOSS recorded that track for the tribute album last fall at our own lovely Rancho de la Luna. A nice record to be a part of for the Rancho. Congratulations to our great friend, Chris. Appropriate to the illnesses that our beloved FRED DRAKE and the fab George suffered with, partial proceeds from the album will go to the T.J. Martell Foundation, a music industry charity that raises money for cancer and AIDS research. Check out this incredible line-up:"I Want to Tell You," The Smithereens; "Devil's Radio," Masters of Reality;"While My Guitar Gently Weeps," Todd Rundgren; "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)," Dave Davies (Kinks guitarist and Inventor of Metal!) ;"I, Me, Mine," Marc Ford; "Within You, Without You," Big Head Todd and the Monsters; "It's All Too Much," Wayne Kramer (with Fred Sonic Smith, founder of MC 5); "Isn't It a Pity," Jay Bennett/Edward Burch;"Old Brown Shoe," Leslie West (Mountain); "Here Comes the Sun," John Entwistle;"Savoy Truffle," They Might Be Giants; "Something," Bonnie Bramlett !!! Related, a favorite album around the Rancho these days is the essential BRAINWASHED by George Harrison. Everything a Beatle album should be: Catchy, Political, Humorous, Spiritual, Beautifully played, sung and recorded. A perfect finale from the Quiet One!












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