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THE LATEST FROM THE RANCHO

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

it's been a month since i last blogged. since then, rancho podner billy bizeau moved to joshua tree, WELCOME BILLY!; josh homme's desert sessions (featuring our own ambassador of good times, david catching) rehearsed at the rancho to prepare for the coachella festival; the tony mason band, dean chamberlain's jam band and my own nomadhouse & everybody's bi polar choir played at the chuckwalla festival in joshua tree. i had a great band (drummer sam, tony on bass, bira on lead guitar. i played electric and sang with the choir -alyssa, amanda, billy, carol ann, john lee, judy wishart, robert , shawn mafia, sue bradley...)

chuckwalla was a lot of fun. especially for the musicians & the kids who had their faces painted and took lessons in performance. 47 bands in two days. many thanks to tad, roland, leslie and my special personal assistant judy wishart; then, the next weekend i got to play at the joshua tree music festival, solo and with (nomadhouse everybody's bi polar chamber group) alyssa, carol ann, john lee & sue, and then, with the wild ass ranchers on the kyoti king stage... the wild ass ranchers did a very upbeat and moving set of the late great kyoti's songs, with gram rabbit and alice & albert sharing some of the vocals with ranchers jon bertini and eric.

joan anderman, arts writer for the boston globe, made a trip to the rancho after coachella to talk with chris goss, dean, billy and i about the history of the rancho and desert scene, for an article she's doing.

johnette napolitano brought local blues great buzz gamble in to the studio for a session, then brought her band concrete blonde in for another one; tony's dad, and jimmy mayweather's pal, bobby mason, spent a week doing his record - now i get it, tony has roots, man. his dad sings like ray charles and plays a mean, beautiful rock n roll blues guitar. his band was great. i felt like i was walking into atlantic records/stax, mid-sixties vintage.

the young, heavy and very intricate band, apnea, did an amazing amount of songs in a day at the rancho ( shows what a band can get done when it's well-rehearsed); david & cinda yandell came back to do a children's song written by cinda's mother ( with bingo droppng by to play some banjo, carol ann adding some mandolin); a new band with guitarist jamie hargate (stumblejunkies), the hellions, also made the best of two days at the rancho.

you need to book some time with us out here. the ranch has never sounded better. then, have billy master your record right next door.

billy is doing mastering now at the middle house. we're hoping the first of many 'lost' fred drake albums will be available before too much longer.

congrats to dana lee (digital dna) anderson szarowicz for his new job doing sound at the revived and fully rockin' pappy & harriet's pioneertown palace. lucky d had the job of making cat powers sound great (she would sound great singing in the car). we look forward to getting chan out to the rancho one day.

i wrote a song for my sister debra's wedding (june 13 in cape cod). she's been with rebecca for 18 years and i think it's about time the law allows them to make it legal! i don't know if i can get back there for the ceremony, but i plan to get the song recorded and there in time. special edition wedding cd's will be made available for a very steep-help-ted-get-an-airplane-ticket price, as per fred burke's suggestion.

while we're shamelelessly begging, as summer approaches, we desperately need a hot tub donation. the old redwood tub is a goner, just won't hold a drop anymore. we are scanning the penny saver and white sheet for any cheap or free tubs we can check out.

elia arce just returned from a triumphant series of sold-out solo performances of 'first woman on the moon' (featuring ambient music of tony mason) in cuba!! while there, she got to march with 2 million cubans and visit john lennon park. viva la mujere primera en mi corazon.

on a sad note, our friend hal hill, the old guy who lived in the trailer, our landlord gene's brother, has passed away. he was in his mid-80s. hal was the guy who convinced gene to rent fred the rancho in the first place, back in may of '93. for this, he is an integral part of our history. he and gene had built most of the rancho, around the homesteader house it once was. he was a circus performer in his day and he wasn't put off by two hippie punk musicians from hollywood that sunday morning. he was also a veteran of world war 2.

i remember coming across a note hal had written to his doctor, cataloging his cancers and removed organs. the note ended with a p.s. telling about the time he and his fellow soldiers were stationed in new mexico. 'they were supposed to get us out of there before the blast went off, but we were still waiting to get on the bus.' i wish there had been a better end for this soldier. as country joe mcdonald once told me of vietnam, 'the war never ends for the people who experience it...'

please make sure that you're registered to vote this year. peace...

(...and noise.)


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