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More Practice...


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Practice with “Deathgrass” Saturday, and with what I think of as “Bruce’s band” (that’s Chris, John, and me, plus Bruce on keyboard) Sunday. As this is written, there are two days until we (Bruce’s band) perform at the City-Port Christmas potluck, four days till the second radio interview promoting the “Deathgrass” Christmas Show, and five days until the Show. Suddenly, time is flyin’ way too fast.

For the Christmas show, “Deathgrass” is ready. We went through the second half of the setlist, and every single song was good. Re-did “Test Tube Baby” to incorporate a few more Elvis touches, too. It’s tempting to have nightmares about people not showing up, but drummer Chris is right: it’s too late to worry about that—what happens, happens, and the important part is our being ready (which we are) and having fun (which I have no doubt we will do). Santa has promised to make an appearance, and so has Pastor Barry, proprietor of the Food Pantry. I’ve gotten apologetic e-mails from our local state representative (who is sending a donation), and our state senator and Congressman (who are not); Oregon’s two U.S. Senators have not deigned to respond (they didn’t last time, either).

With Bruce’s band, it’s mostly me that needs the work, I think. Bruce is a good musician, and a good bandleader, too, and John and Chris can both follow him easily, because they’re good, too. I will have to practice some to keep up. A lot of Bruce’s music is very jazzy, full of ninths and diminisheds, and flatted-elevenths and such ilk, and I’ll have to look a lot of those chords up (and download sheet music for the songs). Bruce does have a setlist (good) for the rough hour of music we’re going to do, and I’ve had him e-mail me what key they’re in (because I can’t tell, being mostly tone-deaf), so I can spend the next couple of days practicing.

The potluck set is all Christmas music, and does include three songs I sing (two of which I wrote): “I’m Giving Mom a Dead Dog for Christmas” (of course) and “Santa’s Fallen and He Can’t Get Up,” plus “Santa, Baby,” which Eartha Kitt made famous. For some reason, that one’s been getting requested a lot this Christmas season. (I’m sure it’s not because of my sexy singing voice.) Bruce wants me to sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” to the tune of “House of the Rising Sun,” and I think I can do it. It’s in my voice range.

Another video idea: I noticed some people on Facebook (at least, I think they were people—you can’t ever tell with the Internet) gushing over the antics of their kittens. If I could get about five minutes’ footage—nice and clear—of a kitten doing generally destructive kitten things, that’s all I’d need to make a music video of “The Dog’s Song.” For the Rap, I could use still photos of Amy, our now-deceased big (4-1/2 feet at the shoulder) Doberman, who was kind of my role model for the dog in the song. Same technique I used in “Me and Rufus, and Burnin’ Down the House,” only (hopefully) better quality.

I had wanted “The Dog’s Song” to be on the Southern Pigfish album, and I want all the Southern Pigfish songs to be videos; that’s the album I want to release on flash drive rather than CD. I’d still like to use one of Mike Simpson’s middle-school bands to “play” Southern Pigfish on the videos, but it really doesn’t matter; since the players don’t really need to be identified, it could be anybody. Alternatively, one could take the same approach as the Grateful Dead—they were simply never photographed, for years. I never knew what they looked like until I saw them in concert. A similar “mystique” would work for Southern Pigfish. How can you photograph a band that doesn’t exist?

Joe

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